Time management: beyond the To-Do list?

When I started this mini-series on time management, my knowledge of the topic was quite limited. I thought that keeping a To-Do list was the key to efficiency. Some even claims that it’s one of the most powerful ways to become more productive. However, after reading about tips, techniques, and more advanced methods (including prioritization), I am not sure about this anymore.

To-do lists often aren’t the key to productivity they’re cracked up to be.Jared Sandberg

Writing a To-Do list might be the first step toward better time management, but it’s definitively not the panacea. Moreover, as many as 30% of listers spend more time managing their lists than completing what’s on them. Touché!

“So, why bother with a post on To-Do lists then?”
“Because not having a post on this staple of time management would be wrong”

It’s a very simple, efficient and extremely popular productivity tool, the only problem is that you can find a lot of conflicting advice online on whether to-do lists work or not, and whether you should keep them in your productivity tool belt at all.Blaz Kos

Even in its most basic form1, a To-Do list should prevent you from forgetting things. Still, the items on your To-To list should be specific because including vague, large items can undermine the list’s effectiveness. In keeping with this primary function, it is better to have everything in one place – one list to rule them all!

It might seem like a To-Do list differs in nothing with a shopping one, but that’s an error.Eduardo Faraday

Another important purpose of To-Do lists is to organize your day by compiling every single task you have to complete. However, the more choices you have, the harder it is to decide where and how to start; hence the importance of prioritization tools. In addition, avoid the frustration of putting more tasks on your daily list than you can reasonably accomplish.

Don’t have a never-ending list of tasks.

A reliable To-Do list should make life both easier and less stressful. And I am not just talking about the feeling of accomplishment after checking off items on your list2. However, the most important is that…

We Need To Do A Better Job Of Putting Ourselves Higher On Our Own ‘To Do’ List.Michelle Obama

1 There are different To-Do lists as described in The To-Do list: How to use to-do lists in the most productive way. There are even Done lists, or Not-To-Do lists for that matter, as you will discover if you read the aforementioned article by Blaz Kos. ^
2 That is also the whole point of the Done list mentioned earlier. ^

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