Throw away your “To-Do” list

Ok … I know that I am going to get many productivity experts scratching their heads with this post …. but I think this is an important point.

Often I see people getting obsessed with their “To-Do” lists. They have the impression that they have to get all the stuff in those lists done, in order to actually feel like they have accomplished something. I believe that this is a big mistake.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am the first one to tell my Clients and students to “think on paper“, or in other words to capture all the different ideas, tasks, actions, needs they have throughout the day on a sheet of paper, word document, spreadsheet, iPhone app, whatever, but to stop using their head as a “file cabinet”.

The problem comes up when people plan their days based on “what they have to do” or when they think that by ticking off each and every single item on that list they are being productive. This is not true … and believe me, I know this very well, because this was what I used to do in the past. I still remember the days when I worked really hard on all the tasks from my “To-Do” list, just to realize later on that most of the things I have completed actually did not get me any step closer to achieving the really important things.

My suggestion is not to have “To-Do” list but rather a “What MUST Get Done” list. In other words, what are the things that must get done today in order to get you closer to your goals.

Planning your day based on “what you have to-do” is not as effective as focusing your energy and effort on what you want to accomplish, and the best way to do that is by identifying the most important actions that as long as they get done, nothing else matters.

So, I am sure that out of the 53 things in your “To-Do” list, there are three or four or ten actions that are crucial for your success. Identify them. Plan your day based on getting them done … and then take massive action and make sure you get them done! This is how you will accomplish your goals, not by being busy with irrelevant tasks.

Photo credit by urbaneye


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One response to “Throw away your “To-Do” list

  1. Pingback: How mentally tough are you? | Ivan Hernandez

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