Anyone who has been around this blog for awhile knows I’m all about to-do lists. Heck, I even sell weekly and daily ones in my Etsy shop! I feel 100% more organized and productive if I have a to-do list in front of me guiding me throughout the day. And that way, when I think of something else I need to get done, it takes me all of 5 seconds to add it to the list and ensure it will get done! Let’s be honest, though, a to-do list is not always a sure thing that you’ll get everything done. Some people aren’t approaching their to-do lists in the most effective way, and I want to help! Here are a few reasons your to-do list might be failing.
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You Don’t Have a Deadline
This is the problem with having one long to-do list. Everything on the list suddenly seems hypothetical. Like, this is a list of all the things I want to get done for my blog, my home, etc. someday. If you really want to accomplish all those tasks, it’s important to decide when you’re going to accomplish them. This is why I love daily to-do lists! I make a short list each day of all the things I plan to accomplish before I go to bed that night. And I promise those are more effective than having one master to-do list!
For bigger projects, indicate when you’ll hit certain milestones, and mark those in your planner to keep yourself accountable!
You Haven’t Prioritized
I think it’s human nature to scan our to-do list to find a task we can knock out right quickly. What better motivation booster than being able to cross something off the list! I get it, but here’s the problem. Those small tasks that just take a few minutes might not be (and probably aren’t) the tasks that are going to make the biggest difference. So instead of ordering your list in order of ease, write your list in order of importance. I LOVE this book, which talks about “eating the frog”, or getting the biggest, most challenging task out of the way first thing in the morning. That way you’ll have a productive day even if you don’t accomplish another thing all day! Plus, the rest of your tasks will seem like a breeze.
Your List is Too Long
This is a really common problem, and luckily a super easy one to fix! I always feel like it’s better to underestimate how much I can accomplish in one day than to overestimate. It’s so easy to get really down and frustrated with yourself at the end of the day when you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough. You feel bad about yourself because of the number of things on that to-do list you weren’t able to cross off. So from now on, put fewer things on the list. Be more realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. And if at the end of the day you’ve got time to spare, start working on tomorrow’s list!
You Have Too Many Lists
As a to-do list junkie, I used to love trying out new calendar and planner apps. However, I was still loyal to my paper planner and to-do list. So then I would have a situation where I’ve made to-do lists across multiple platforms. I couldn’t keep up with all of them, so tasks would inevitably fall through the cracks. I finally admitted to myself that I’m a pen and paper girl through and through, and that’s how I keep my one daily to-do list. If you want to use multiple platforms for different areas of your life, that’s fine! Just create a system that works for you and that actually helps you to stay organized, instead of causing even more disorganization in your life.
You Don’t Know Your Why
Here’s the issue with a never-ending to-do list. You think of something random you want to do for your blog. You add it to your master to-do list. A month later, when you finally get to it, you don’t feel excited about it and can’t even remember why you felt it was important. But since you added it to the list, it obviously must be important, so you do it anyway. I’ve been there, friends. I promise you’re going to be more passionate about each and every task if you know why you’re doing it! What is your goal with this task? How is this task going to further your…..? You get the idea.
Is your to-do list working? How do you plan to fix it?
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