Scheduling and making time-tables is an age-old technique to organize everything and get things done. But what if they are killing your productivity?
If you are able to check off everything on your list for the day it feels satisfying. However, most of us aren’t able to complete them and that leaves us filled with guilt. At times, to-do lists do the opposite of motivating us. We end up dreading all of it and procrastinate as soon as we see the list of tasks.
Here are a few ways in which to-do lists are killing your productivity:
Listing way too many items
We fill up our lists with so many things to accomplish in a day, it becomes way too unrealistic. Chances are that you will just end up procrastinating. We also forget about the order in which we need to do all of them.
This can make us feel overwhelmed, and we might end up doing nothing at all. This sort of list also fails to deal with emergencies. Small, focused lists can help you deal with unforeseen circumstances and any other last-moment tasks as well.
Forgetting you need breaks
You load up your checklist with too many things and forget that breaks are important too. Short breaks throughout the day can keep you energized.
If you over-exhaust yourself both mentally and physically, you’ll need a longer recovery at the end of the day. You might even feel like taking an entire day off.
Making it at the last moment
We tend to make our list just before sleeping or making in the morning. This inevitably makes the list a little biased towards small and unimportant tasks. The list is bound to lose a little sight and kills creativity.
This list leaves no time for us to get inspired or get creative, we just get obsessed with finishing off small tasks.
Forgetting to prioritize long term tasks
Because of the fact that we make our to-do lists at the last moment, we will obviously end up doing things on which the clock is ticking.
We focus on getting those tasks done which will give us immediate satisfaction. Long-term goals take a backseat.
What can make our lists more efficient and still not stress us out?
The first thing we need to understand is that the definition of productivity for all of us is different and different professions require different techniques. Making small achievable lists is the first thing you need to do.
It is good for those who are usually the ‘last-moment’ kind of people.
Take a break and get clarity on your goals
Instead of rushing your list in the morning, take some time and get clarity on all the things in life. Divide your goals into two categories: short term and long term.
Trivial tasks like sending a mail or picking up groceries should in no way compromise your long term important goals.
Schedule time for creative breaks
Working too much will cause burnout and cause you to stress about everything. You can’t climb up the ladder in your office by finishing only day-to-day small tasks. You need creative breaks for brainstorming and stirring things up.
Keep in mind that leaders are available to their colleagues and don’t say no just so they can tick something off their checklist.
Divide tasks into 4 categories
First, determine whether a task is important or not, for example: if you get a call, evaluate if it is really important. After classifying your tasks as important or unimportant, divide them into urgent and not-so-urgent. All our long term goals are usually not urgent but very important and they are the ones that get ignored the most in our lists.
So next time you make a list, make sure you don’t hastily jot things down but take a moment to carefully reflect on yourself. Make a list that helps you not only on that day but also in the future.
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