To do lists..do they actually work?
I know for a fact the majority of us out there were taught to make “To do lists”… No matter which part you were at in life, whether primary school, highschool, university/college, work, people tell you to make lists all the time.
Or you have thought that producing a list can help you achieve more and feel productive. But do you ever feel like they don’t really work?
And it doesn’t just have to be about education or work. Think about it.. even for new year’s resolutions people create a lists of things to accomplish that year. But most of them fail. Why is that? Why is it that these “lists” don’t seem to be working as we expected them to be?
Well for me, I have been creating these lists sporadically over my life time. Studies, hobbies, education, you name them all. I’ve done it. But to be very honest with you, I’d say I have only successfully achieved 20-30% of lists that I make.
Can you tell me for sure that your to-do lists have been so effective that you almost have a 100% efficient and productive rate? If that is so, please teach me something I am doing wrong.
Of course, I’m not saying that “to do” lists are bad, as history has proven that these lists do work as intended, but many people use them wrongly. It almost seems like too far of a stretch, because “to do” lists makes you feel like you have to get up and actually do something. And let’s be honest, people these days are lazy. Anything that sounds like too much work will likely be avoided at all costs.
But then you see them complaining all the time, and you see people make the SAME new year’s resolutions every single year. You’d think that people learn from mistakes, and make a change, but that’s not reality.
However, here’s something you should definitely try, and I recommend it. It has definitely helped me be more productive and efficient in my day to day tasks, weeks and achieving my goals.
What should you do?
Create a “Not to do” list. That’s right. The exact opposite of what you’ve been doing all this time. And trust me, it works much better than your ordinary to do list. In fact, I think you should ultimately have both, but try starting out with the “not to do” list if the usual “to do” list isn’t working so well.
The biggest problem I find with “to do” lists is that the list only gets bigger and bigger each time.. and over time, the overwhelming number of tasks become unrealistic to achieve.
In fact, the great Warren buffet said himself, your to do list should only have 3 items to achieve as maximum. Anything above three is too much, and you should cut off all distractions until you achieve those goals. Not to say that the rest of items on your list are not important, but they can wait. Know your primary and secondary goals.
When you create a “Not to do” list, you are ultimately cutting out the bad habits in your day to day routine. Procrastination, bad habits and unrealistic goals can cause all types of problems, and abstain you from reaching your goals.
Cutting out bad habits not only make you more productive, but it also drives innovation within you. Here is an example of a “Not to do list” that you could try:
- Do not check your emails every half hour ( batch them instead)
- Do not let bad influence dominate your time
- Do not say yes to meetings with no agenda
- Do not schedule minutiae tasks
- Do not answer calls from unrecognised numbers
When you make a list like this, not only will you be more productive in your work/life, but you also find more time to do more things that you love and enjoy. If you haven’t I suggest you give it a shot. See how it works for you.
Ultimately, it’s how committed you are to achieving your goals whether it’s a “to do” or “not to do” list.
- To do lists are great, but not for everyone
- Try a “Not to do ” list instead
- Helps with productivity, effeciency and cutting out bad habits
- “Not to do ” lists drives innovation , keeps you focused
- Ideally want to have both working in parallel, with a “to do” list of 3 max
- Ultimately, it is up to your own commitment towards your own goals
Geoff is a blogger, social media consultant, influencer and loves to motivate people. Ever since venturing on his own journey, he has acquired many skill sets in business, blogging, self-development and more. From faith, podcasts, books, mentors and personal experiences he believes in sharing the knowledge gained with the intention of helping other people.