Everybody is preaching about the importance of a to-do list. But is it actually that effective?
This was the main question that stopped me from using such lists in the past.
However, as time passed, I had a change in opinion after experimenting with it.
Here’s what I found:
A To-do list adds a structure to your day, giving you clarity on the task you need to finish. Completing the tasks will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment. So, writing to-do lists can actually be useful for you.
In fact, whenever we write something, we are more likely to remember it. This also means we have a high chance of getting it done.
Should you make a to-do list every day?
For everyday tasks, it’s useful to have a daily to-do list. It gives you priorities and saves a lot of time throughout the day.
Instead of that, if you try to keep everything in your mind, there’s a good chance you might forget it.
Also, whenever you try to remember something consciously, it takes up a chunk of your mental space which could have been used for more important things.
Is making to-do lists bad?
Often, some take the wrong approach to making to-do lists. They overestimate what they can achieve during the day and put in too many tasks.
When they are able to accomplish everything, they feel great.
But when they cannot, it could affect their self-image.
I have been on this side too, especially in the beginning. I would stack up many items on my to-do list. And whenever I couldn’t finish it, there was a small feeling of guilt.
It happened one day. So I don’t notice it.
But when it happened every day, I started to notice how it was affecting me. There was a small voice that used to whisper, ‘I told you, you aren’t good at managing your time.’
On careful inspection, I found it was because I wasn’t completing my tasks.
Based on that, I think if one isn’t completing their tasks on time, making a to-do list might not be the most productive thing to do.
Related Reading: How many items should you have on a to-do list?
What to do when can’t seem to finish off your to-do list?
Simple – Make a Better Lists.
Imagine tomorrow you have to write a big report.
For that, you need to email a few people to get the required data, do your own research before you start scribbling anything.
How much time would all of this take? Would you be able to finish it all within a day?
Even if you do, you’ll ignore other tasks.
So you can break down the task of writing the report into smaller chunks:
- Send out an email
- Do the research and organize information
- Finish the report
- Revise and polish everything
Now the tasks look more manageable and you can complete them faster.
And if you put too many items on your to-do list, stop that! I’ll admit – I’ve been guilty of this one.
Just put the most important 1-2 tasks that you know you can accomplish under any circumstances.
As your self-image of finishing tasks becomes better, you’ll notice that you can add more items to your list and finish them too.
Do successful people make to-do lists?
Some successful people use to-do lists, while some don’t.
Some people prefer to block their time for a particular task, while others prefer a finish a given task on the day.
At the end of the day, a list is just one of the tools to become more productive.
Should I use a notebook or a digital device to make a to-do list?
This is something that differs on an individual basis. For those who love to play with technology, an app will do wonders.
For those who prefer physically writing down the list, a paper works well too!
Find out which side you are more inclined towards and then decide the medium for creating a list.
What are the best apps for such a list?
There are many apps for creating a good to-do list. Some of the popular ones are Todoist, Microsoft Lists, Evernote, Google Tasks, etc.
If you need to decide between them, I suggest you watch this video where you’ll see which of them are great and which aren’t.
A to-do list gives a structure to your day and frees up mental space for important tasks.
With the right approach, it can save time and stop you from forgetting important tasks.
So consider spending 2-3 minutes every day creating a to-do list.
If you’re interested to learn about how to create such lists, you could benefit from learning the Ivy Lee Method of creating To-Do Lists.
Let me know in the comments whether you think creating a to-do list is a great option or not.
Hello! It’s Rana here. On this blog, I write about productivity and self-help. I share my personal experiences and offer solutions that you can use in your life 🙂