If you’re like a lot of people, you use a daily to-do list and you may even check some things off each day, but you may be making a mistake that many people make that causes a HUGE problem not only in terms of productivity, but also in the fundamental way you organize your thoughts.
Don’t feel bad. It’s a common mistake, and I’m here to help you fix it.
Consider this question for a moment. What does your daily to-do list contain? Is it sufficiently broken down into manageable tasks and tasks only? Can you realistically complete those tasks in a maximum of a couple of hours each?
If not, you may be making this mistake as well. And it may be drastically affecting your life.
A daily to-do list should be composed of small tasks that don’t take more than a couple of hours at most to complete. Otherwise, they have no place here.
This is where a lot of people go wrong. They use daily to-do lists as a reminder of the things they need to work on, but their use of lists ends there. They fail to ever separate the large projects on their lists from the small tasks they need to accomplish in the first place.
The result is often a major short-term focus, and is a huge reason why a lot of people in this world fail to think in a proactive fashion. They think a day at a time, and never a step ahead.
See, by not separating out your long-term goals and projects onto other forms of productivity documentation, the only list you’ll ever have is your daily list, which at this point is only a reminder of things to work on. It’s not being used in a productive fashion to help you achieve your goals.
See, a lot of people don’t realize that there are more types of lists than just a daily list that you can use to enhance your productivity. And not only will they enhance your productivity by allowing you to keep your to-do list more clean, but they’ll also allow you to be a much more of a long-term thinker, and will allow you to take control of your day rather than let your day control you.
Consider this structure of lists to arrange your productivity, rather than the typical “daily list only” approach that most people use:
It might seem a little strange to keep three lists, but look at what happens as the result.
Suddenly, with the creation of your long-term lists, your daily list starts to mean something. It becomes free of long-term projects and you only include the small tasks that you need to get done each day to allow you to complete your projects. You’ll start crossing off everything on your daily list every day. Then you’ll relate those back to completing your projects and eventually your ultimate long-term goals.
The result is your daily to-do list goes from being just a dumping ground of everything you have to do, to being a key driver of your productivity and success.
And that’s the ultimate goal of “lifehacking” – to enable you to get things done!
(Photo credit: Crumpled Wads of Paper on Table via Shutterstock)
Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook