Making To-Do Lists That Work

I have a friend that makes these amazingly long to-do lists.  The most amazing thing about them is they never get done.  They will have 10-20 things listed they will spend a lot of time making them.  Then they get set aside never to be looked at again.

I asked if making to-do lists was just to help them get things out of their head and down on paper so they wouldn’t forget them?  No,  their true intention was to complete the list, but they never did and actually felt self-defeated and frustrated.

I personally am a to-do list person and find that they work for me.  Do you want to know why?  I actually do the things on my list.

There are ways to make to-do lists that make them easier to get done.  First, you need to spend time thinking about what you need or want to accomplish and how much time each task will take.  It is key to understand the “time” thing as many times people will not even think through what is possible in the time that they have and so they fail to get everything done.

Second, you have to have some sort of self-discipline to begin and see each task through to completion.

Thirdly, once you know how much time you have and that you actually are going to tackle your tasks, you need to make your to-do list to fit the time allotted.  More tasks than time are not better in this instance.  Making a to-do list with 2 or 3 items to fit in the time you have and finishing them is so much better than putting 5 items on your list that you will not be able to complete and feel bad about.

Think about your “task management system” when making your list of things that you want to complete.  Really think through what it will take, will you be interrupted during the time you have set aside, and do you have everything you need to complete the task.  Going through these steps before you make your list will really help you to be able to get things done.

If you struggle with to-do lists there is a great book by Damon Zahariades, titled, “To-Do List Formula” that you can find on Amazon that is a great resource for becoming more productive using to-do lists.  It is a quick read less than 100 pages, check it out.

Have a great day!


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