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Include “Use to-do list” in your to-do list

By Marques • Jun 5th, 2007 • Category: Habits, Productivity

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Now you have a to-do list that is well organized. Next step is using it.

Most people nowadays cannot afford to loose too much time or, even worse, not to do some of the things they were supposed to. You are probably one of them.

One of the ways to keep yourself organized and achieve a high level of productivity is by using some sort of to-do list. This is a basic pillar in productivity. Your mind works better if it’s connected to only one task at hand and the time it takes to do it is less than if you are doing something and already thinking about the one thousand other things you have to do.

But there is no point in over complicating your list. Keep it simple. Keep it to the point. Start with your high-priority tasks and go down the list as you complete them.

Creating to-do lists requires a high level of organization and it is a habit that needs to be grown. It will not be completely functional from one day to the other and you need to tweak it as you go. But again, tweaking it does not mean making it more complex. Simplicity is the key. On another post I’ll talk about the best ways to create your to-do lists, with simplicity and functionality. For now I want you to focus just on the habit of having a list at all.

Having a list will make you feel more safe and confident on what you have to do. You are able to divide your time and focus on that only task that you should be doing now.

There are many approaches for maintaining to-do lists: some people prefer the old friends pen and paper while others go for the high-tech method with complicated and expensive software. I prefer to stay somewhere in between. Pen and paper means that after a to-do list is created for the day it’s harder to move things around and change priorities on-the-fly (yes, your to-do list should also be flexible) while over complicated software means a long learning curve and it has features that will probably never be used. Choose whatever way is better for you. Recently, I’ve found some lists of software that can help with creating to-do lists: a huge one can be found here while a smaller one, with some reviewing was posted at zenhabits. I’ll try some of those myself and will get back to you on what I’ve found.

Just remember something: now that you have organized yourself with a to-do list, you actually have to use it. The same way that creating one is a habit, using it is also a habit. Countless people create their to-do lists just to end up never using them or, what is worse, not caring about the topics listed just because something “better” came up to do. Above I mentioned that a to-do list should be flexible, and that is true, but it does not mean that you should completely change it through out the day. If you added something to the list, then it needs to be done. Otherwise what’s the point?

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6 Responses »

  1. I usually use a PDA. I need it for work anyway, so I try to keep myself organized with it. The calendar features are great for this.

  2. [...] Include “Use to-do list” in your to-do list [...]

  3. PDA user here also.

  4. Thank you both for your comments.

    PDAs are great tools to achieve a better organization level.
    The calendar feature is good but it has disadvantages over a regular to-do list: If you use it to manage time, like assigning a task to a certain time period, you might end up with free time in between tasks (can be good or bad) or you might end up stressed because everything is getting delayed.
    Why just not use a normal to-do list? That way it’s much more flexible and your brain learns something from it.

    Any other thoughts?

  5. [...] Include “Use to-do list” in your to-do list [...]

  6. [...] mentioned above, the four categories are enough to divide all your tasks, the ones you have on your to-do list and any other that comes as a surprise. For the first ones, you probably have already properly [...]

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