For Maximum Productivity, Avoid These 7 To-Do List Mistakes

May 1, 2018

Don’t write your to-do list in the morning, and make sure you don’t include everything, according to advice from Fast Company. Keep your list simple, practical and short to ensure that you’re successful, productive and less stressed.

“A to-do list is a road map for your day. It sets an intention so you know what you’re doing, but you can get derailed if you don’t use it correctly,” says Paula Rizzo, author of the book “Listful Thinking.”
Before you write your next to-do list, Fast Company suggests making sure that you aren’t making these seven common mistakes:

1. Writing the list in the morning

Creating your list the night before will help you get a jump-start on the next day’s work. Writing at the end of day will also help you leave work behind, rest your mind and transition to personal time.

2. Including too many tasks

Listing lots of things can be overwhelming and take too long to complete. Write down what’s most important, avoid lengthy lists and estimate how long each task will take to manage your time appropriately.

3. Including ‘someday’ items

Focus on daily “to-dos” that are specific and attainable; aspirational tasks should go on a bucket list instead. You want your list to be shrinking, not growing.

4. Treating each item equally

Put items in order of their priority. Follow the “3-3-3 system” — delete the three least important items, delegate three things that aren’t the best use of your time and do the three highest-priority tasks yourself.

5. Not being specific

Don’t be vague. If you have to stop to think how to proceed, you’ll waste more time. For example, instead of writing “expense report” on your to-do list, write “enter receipts into spreadsheet.”

6. Using the same list until it’s done

Create a fresh list each day that changes as you progress through the week, as every day brings something different and may require a varied approach.

7. Not linking your list and calendar

Make sure that your calendar and your to-do list are connected and reflect one another.


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