Five Mistakes You’re Making with Your To-Do Lists

Chattanooga, TN – Huff Post

Here are a few mistakes people make with daily to-do lists:  Don’t treat it like a wish list, be realistic.  Don’t make it too long, three to five items is enough.  And don’t add a bunch of tiny tasks, just to cross more stuff off.  You’re just lying to yourself.

1.  Not making an ACTUAL list.  Write it down or make a list on your phone, but don’t just try to keep track in your head.  Writing it out helps make sure you don’t forget anything, and makes you commit to actually doing the stuff.

2.  Don’t treat it like a wish list.  Are you really going to get it done today, or is it a pipe dream?  Separate long-term lists are fine.  But in general, focus on short-term stuff and be realistic.  If you’re not, you won’t get it done.  Then you’ll feel bad about yourself.

3.  Making your list too long.  Again, you don’t want to be too ambitious.  We tend to overestimate what we can do in a single day.  So three to five items is enough, just the stuff you’re really focused on getting done.

4.  Not breaking down bigger projects into smaller chunks.  When your list is a mix of big and small stuff, you do the small stuff first and NEVER the big stuff.  So instead of something like, “paint the bedroom,” start with “choose a color,” or “buy paint.”

5.  Adding a bunch of tiny tasks just so you can cross stuff off.  Some people even add things they’ve already done, just so their list looks better.  But obviously you’re lying to yourself and not really accomplishing much.

Adding a bunch of easy stuff also makes it harder to prioritize the most important things on your list.  So, don’t add things that are too hard OR too easy.


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