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Why it's better to keep a to-do list instead of a to-do list
Why it's better to keep a to-do list instead of a to-do list

The pervasive fashion for productivity has made task lists very popular. But they are not always helpful.

Why it's better to keep a to-do list instead of a to-do list
Why it's better to keep a to-do list instead of a to-do list

Why To Do Lists Don't Make Our Lives Better

There are a number of reasons.

They do not guarantee the completion of tasks

Most often, a to-do list is made to do something hard or not too interesting. For example, study or run. But planning a job doesn't mean getting it done. After all, the list will not help you fall in love with higher mathematics, and therefore sitting over textbooks will be tiresome every time. You can break down at any time.

They don't make us more efficient

It takes time to compile a list. Especially if there are a lot of tasks and they need, for example, to be sorted out according to different priorities or groups. The list will most likely have to look throughout the day to remember what to do next, or to mark what has been done. And that also takes time.

As a result, keeping a to-do list distracts from the tasks themselves. Productivity does not increase, but falls, and unfulfilled tasks accumulate like a snowball.

They interfere with rest

When making a to-do list, a person is immediately faced with a huge number of future tasks. The very realization that there are a lot of things to do is crushing. And if there are unforeseen delays or transfers, the person becomes even more nervous. He will constantly reflect on what he did and what did not, think over what he will do next. And then he will not be able to relax even during rest or other pleasant activities.

They can lead to health problems

A person may feel guilty if they do not complete one of the planned tasks. Emotions like these lower self-esteem and lead to burnout and stress, and poor sleep. Such a complex can cause M. Kivimäki, M. Jokela, S. T. Nyberg et al. Long working hours and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: a systematic review and meta ‑ analysis of published and unpublished data for 603 838 individuals / The Lancet serious health problems.

What is the advantage of a to-do list

There will be much less difficulties with him. And there are more benefits.

Frees up time and improves emotional well-being

The list of completed tasks can be kept as you like, and this requires a minimum of time. You can mark completed tasks during the day, at the end of the day, or at the end of the week. That is, you just fill out a list of closed tasks and see real progress. It inspires, pleases and gives strength.

Helps to focus on results rather than an abstract goal

A to-do list can help cope with a false sense of “duty” and generate a real desire to do something. Because it is always pleasant to replenish the piggy bank of completed tasks. Most likely, there will be fewer of them than planned, but only the things that are really important to you will be on the list.

By doing something that brings pleasure, you will get rid of the inner conflict between the desire to do everything and the desire to spend time and energy on interesting goals. In addition, a list of completed tasks will show what distractions you are during the day and why you are not doing something or not being on time.

Motivates better

Each entry on the list reminds you that you haven't wasted your day. According to some experts, knowing that you have scored several small victories during the day or week will help you progress further. It's no coincidence that at a number of companies, such as Google, FourSquare and Buzzfeed, lists of what employees have done are available to all colleagues. This is used to motivate employees.

How to keep a to-do list

Try the following:

  1. Take a blank sheet. You will enter your achievements into it. For greater clarity, it is better to keep the list on paper.
  2. Set aside a convenient time to fill out the table. You can do this at the end of the day or week, it is unlikely that the process will take more than 10 minutes.
  3. For each major challenge, highlight the smaller accomplishments.
  4. Be sure to include in the list those things that you did not plan, but completed. For example, we finalized the presentation before showing it to the client.
  5. Review your list periodically. Summarize. For example, for a month or a year. You will get genuine pleasure from this.
  6. If you can't detail what you've done, make a list of major accomplishments. Include things that really matter. For example, a long-awaited trip made.
  7. If you can't get rid of the list of scheduled tasks, try combining it with the list of completed tasks. For example, you can put a checkmark in front of what was done in the paper version and disable the deletion or archiving of closed tasks in scheduler applications.