How To Use To-Do Lists To Kill Your Productivity

Do you ever make a to-do list and find that you’re hardly completing any of it? Perhaps you’re just not crafting your to-do list properly. Kathleen McGowan, writing for Psychology Today, argues that there’s a right way and a wrong way to create your to-do lists. Here’s why.

What’s the wrong way? To look at your to-do list as an actual achievement. It’s not. Making lists feels like an accomplishment because you’ve actually done something, but in some ways it’s just a means of procrastination. You’re putting off work by creating a list of things you need to do. Unless that list actually helps you get work done, you’re simply procrastinating.

What’s the right way? McGowan explains:

Break it down. In order to make it easier to begin working on big, intimidating tasks, efficiency experts suggest breaking it down into much smaller parts composed of specific, tangible activities. Research has shown that tasks that don’t have an obvious action plan or structure are the hardest ones to face. Make it easier on yourself by listing specific actions and subgoals. Your to-do list will get much longer but, paradoxically, will be a much more helpful tool.

McGowan also suggests that putting together a flow chart and writing down distractions so you can deal with them later are other ways to help keep you on task and actually stick to that list.

Got any tips for more effective to-do lists? Let’s hear ’em in the comments!

Is the To-Do List Doing You In? [Psychology Today]

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