Have you ever written a to-do list and then proceeded to not do any of it? Right, me too! Yesterday I had a list of 10 simple items and I check off just one of those items by days end. I’m a huge fan of to-do lists but I know better than to write a list like I did yesterday.
Here’s the low down on being successful with to-do lists: the productivity hack is not in writing the list but in making the plan for execution. Here’s an example: Call the pediatrician. Indeed, I need to make this call, but when am I going to make it? Somewhere on my calendar I need to commit to making phone calls—all of them should take place in the time I have allocated for calls. “Call the pediatrician to schedule physical” is nothing urgent, so it is likely to get ignored until it becomes urgent—like when the forms are due at school—not good time management.
Here’s a fun fact: 41% of to-do tasks are never completed. Why do you think that is? It’s likely because there is no sense of urgency around these items. Today, I want you to make a to-do list of just a few items, but it must include times for execution. For example: 8 am – Make all calls on to-do list. That’s the hack we’re all looking for! Plan your work, then work your plan.
P.S. Here are two great articles about to-do lists from Fast Company and Greatist. Enjoy!