Following the summary of the book we have shared this week, we would like to extend the topic and tell you about seven mistakes people make when writing to-do lists and several ways of avoiding such mistakes.
1.Too voluminous lists
We plan to do dozens of things during the day, but all our tasks vary in their urgency, length and time required for their completion. Long lists demotivate, because it is impossible to do every task in them.
Instead, specify 3 most important tasks which will benefit you the most in your carrier, business or you personally, and write them down in order of their importance on a small piece of paper to keep in front of your eyes during the day.
2.Ambiguity and uncertainty
Very often we formulate our goals too vaguely, not setting forth the specific steps we need to take to achieve the result. Instead of writing down: “Work on the presentation”, specify what exactly you are planning to do: “Make a draft of the presentation”, “Define 3 key points of the presentation” and so on.
It is important to understand:
- what the final result would be;
- if it is possible to finish the task in one go;
- what the deadline of the task is.
3.Poor time management
It’s hard to be effective if you don’t know how many hours or days it will require you to complete this or that task. Before getting down to work, estimate how much time you would approximately spend on this task. Even if you make mistakes in your estimations at first, they will help you to better manage your time in the future.
4.Falling for distractions
There are days when lots of unplanned tasks emerge and unforeseen situations take place. That’s why it is important not only to structure your schedule, but also be flexible. Every morning take a look in your calendar to check what you have planned for today and the next few days. During the day allow at least one hour to be spent on solving unplanned situations. This amount of free time will let you considerably decrease the level of everyday stress.
5.Focusing on tasks which are in fact not so important
There is always a temptation to fill your list with tasks which only seem urgent and important but actually do not play a big role in the long run. To achieve results, you need to see the whole picture and write down tasks with real deadlines (for example, important meetings) and those that have the most influence on your goals (for instance, work on the coming presentation).
6.No connection between tasks and end goals
Motivation depends on how the task is important for you personally. In these cases, we don’t have to summon up our spirits, we get down to work happily. Before starting to write your to-do list of important tasks, think for a moment, why you include this or that point there. If it relates to your long-term goal, you will work on it with more enthusiasm.
7.Torturing yourself with thoughts on undone tasks
At the end of the day, the list of important tasks is not a question of life and death. That’s why don’t torture yourself and start each morning with working on three most important tasks for the day.
As always, we are trying to be interesting and useful for you, that’s why your opinion matters. Please tell us, did you find this information interesting, would you like to read similar advice in the future?