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Why the list of tasks for the day is bad and how to replace it
Why the list of tasks for the day is bad and how to replace it

In fact, it does not increase productivity, but decreases it.

Why the list of tasks for the day is bad and how to replace it
Why the list of tasks for the day is bad and how to replace it

It does not reflect the actual passage of time

According to one experiment, People Awful at Estimating Time, only 17% of people correctly estimate how much time has passed. Most of us find it difficult to calculate how long it will take us to do this or that. This also affects such successful people as Elon Musk: how many times he has already set a release date for a new Tesla model and did not meet the deadline. As a child, his brother had to tell him that the school bus would arrive earlier than now, because he knew that Elon would be late.

We are overly optimistic about the time it will take to complete tasks. After a cup of coffee in the morning, it seems that we will quickly deal with everything. But the to-do list grows, three items turn into ten, and the task we wanted to finish in a few minutes stretches out for an hour.

He does not make you feel that the working day is over

Try to remember the last time you checked all the items off the list. Usually it is postponed until tomorrow, replenished again and so on ad infinitum. Because of this, it seems that the work never ends, and you do not have time for anything.

In addition, it seems that everything should be included in the list, regardless of the degree of importance and value. As a result, you pay more attention to tasks that are not so important in the long run.

It allows you to avoid important matters

Here's a typical example of a to-do list. Let's say it was compiled by a sales specialist.

  • Parse mail.
  • Read messages in Slack.
  • Make a deal with Paul for tomorrow.
  • Meet with the marketing team and come up with ideas.
  • Go for groceries.
  • Make 50 cold calls.
  • Wash.
  • Clean up the house.

It doesn't take a productivity guru to figure out that the most important thing on this list is 50 cold calls. While it's nice to get out and do other small tasks, they won't affect anything. If you are in sales, the most important thing for you is to call 50 potential customers.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time we use to-do lists to avoid things we don't feel like doing. And these are the things that usually turn out to be the right thing to do.

Replace it with a different strategy

Take advantage of entrepreneur Aytekin Tank's idea. He suggests replacing lists with "hunter strategy".

In ancient times, people hunted to survive. If the hunter catches something, his family will have something to eat. If not, they will have to starve. It's simple. He wouldn't have time to check his e-mail, go to meetings, much less make to-do lists. He woke up with one purpose - to get food on the hunt. This was his main business for the day. This mindset is also useful when planning your day.

Don't write a dozen cases. Pick the one that you must do that will have the greatest impact on your work. If you find it difficult to decide, remember the task that you least want to do.

When you arrive at work in the morning, write one important goal for the day on a piece of paper and glue it in a prominent place. For example, on a computer screen. If you notice that you are distracted or want to check your mail, stop. Look at the recorded target and tune in to your "hunt". You will be able to complete minor duties by finishing the main task.

Use this method for several weeks, writing one goal on a piece of paper each day. Then analyze the situation. If you feel more satisfied with your work and notice that your contribution to the common cause has increased, continue to "hunt".