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To-Do Lists Will Just Make You Less Productive, Here’s Why

To-Do Lists Will Just Make You Less Productive, Here’s Why

Oh yes, we all have at least one to-do list. We can even have several ones (bad idea, very bad idea). It is something expected to write down our tasks. Not only that, but we are taught to do it. It is all about order.

Too many things-to-do

It seems like writing things will magically make them happen right? Well, it does not work at all. If you want some metric let me tell you that only 41% of items on to-do lists are ever actually done. That is rather bad, don’t you think?

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Not only that, but if you also investigate a little more you’ll find some awesome facts regarding to-do lists. One of those truths will confuse you. It happens that a lot of tasks done on a given to-do list are tasks that are not included! I mean, you wrote 5 points, you did 10 but never finished the list! So, what’s the problem? It seems that we get puzzled by this schedule and tend to add more points to our, now endless to-do list.

We get stressed

Our mind just gets stressed with so many things to do and can not get focused in order to take them down one by one. This overwhelming list causes us to get less productive. Besides, we get mental and physically tired. This is a good time to procrastinate right? So we do it.

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Yes, we do procrastinate. It is a monster crushing our productivity. It is our own monster. We create him, we feed him, we keep him alive. But we hate him. Indeed, we can not get rid of him. Somehow we need him. Yes, we need someone to blame. We are not guilty, he is the one to blame. This way we can keep going with our endless to-do list and our “little” procrastination creature.

How to Improve Your Planning by Being Task-Focused

There is a simple way to overcome this situation. You have to be task-oriented, and change how you think about getting things done. You have to stop creating to-do lists and make task lists or objective lists instead.

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Let me explain it: When you change how you think that you must finish a task, you’ll train yourself to get a new and healthy habit. A to-do list means nothing, just a way to write what you should remember; but a task list or objective list forces you to start a task and finish it. Nice, right? There is another hidden benefit with a task list. Let’s look at an example and you’ll see it. Suppose I have this to-do list:

  1. Get a domain name
  2. Hire a hosting company
  3. Configure an email account
  4. Create a site with that domain and hosting
  5. Tweet it
  6. Publish it on FB
  7. Publish it on G+
  8. Publish it on other SM

Now let’s translate it into a task list:

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  1. Get my new site up and running
  2. Promote it

So what happened? It looks like I forgot a lot of the to-do’s, right? Actually, I just convert them to tasks. It is pretty obvious that in order to get my site running I must have a domain name, hosting, email account, etc, etc, so what is the point of writing them all down? I summarized them in one task so I must start it and finish it. The same with regards to promoting the new site. Now I have two tasks that I can perform instead of eight to-do-something that I’ll probably never finish.

As you can see, it is all a matter of re-educating our routines and getting into the best habits, plus thinking of tasks as start-and-finish instead of things to do.

Start today and enjoy instant benefits.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Carlos Alberto Romay

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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Relocate your alarm clock.

Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

Scrap the snooze.

The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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Change up your buzzer

If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

Make a puzzle

If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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Get into a routine

Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

Have a reason

Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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