Do you start the day with a To Do List only to find at the end of the day it was longer than when you began?
The thing with To Do Lists is that you continue to add items to the bottom of the list before you have completed the items at the top of the list.
Imagine your To Do List on a blank sheet of paper, that is big, but there is still a limit, there is only a certain amount you can fit on that one page and you will subconsciously limit the items that can fit on the page. Now imagine an app on your phone or laptop that tracks your To Do List, there are no limits, no bounds, you can keep on adding to your To Do List and you probably never come across some of the items tucked up in the corners of your application it is possible that the most important items will just get lost in the sea of “also to do’s”.
There is only certain amount of time in the day, week, and month. There is very little point continuously adding items on a To Do List, if it is humanly impossible to tackle them in a day.
The solution is actually counterintuitive: You would probably get more done by making a shorter to-do list.
If you had a single item on your To Do List for a given day, you could be pretty sure that single item would get done.
Image your To Do List on a single Post-It Note. It seems more possible that you are likely to get through this list and it is easier to select a single item that has to be done that day.
Your day is a limited size; therefore it makes sense to limit the size of your To Do List. A simple rule, if you cannot fit the day’s tasks on the Post-It you are not likely to fit them into the day.
The answer is not to track every item, but the items that you need to do and can do in the time you have. At the end of each day, list what needs to be done for THE NEXT DAY. From this list identify the single item that needs to be done and then list items on your Post It note To Do List. Anything else does not make it on the list.
Once you have prepared your To Do List review at the end of the working day, this gives your subconscious mind to work through the items whilst you are switched off from work and next morning you start on the your list. You will focus on the single item that needs to be done.
It is incredibly important to start the day by working through the list of things starting with what needs to be done that day - do and not start the day trying to plan that day. Stick the Post-It Note on your screen so it is the first thing you see at the start of the day.
Soon you will realise that the single item that needs to be done in a given day is the most important and would give you the best return and makes the rest of your week, month and year easier and even more productive.
Reducing your To Do List will focus you on the items that are essential – you will end up with a success list and not a wish list.