What NOT to put on a To-Do List (Part 1)

This entry can be quite lengthy. Many posts (from other blogs, for example) and re-tweets (from Time.com and motto.time.com) discuss the To-Do lists from successful people. And from my readings I have found there are two streams of thought:

  1. You need a To-Do list -or-
  2. A To-Do list will slow down your day.


Ugh! So who to believe? Well, both, in fact.

The Importance of To-Do Lists:

Whether you’re crossing the threshold into your office or your home, it’s easy to get derailed. Those great ideas you brainstormed on your commute to work or home are now wiped away with your first catastrophe-du-jour. Written down, they now become a reminder of something you need to accomplish that day, or to get started long-term.

BUT: don’t let your To-Do list overwhelm you (after all, you are the one who wrote it; you weren’t given it by your boss or significant other). A To-Do item such as “Organize Expense Reports” is important, and can be done that day. If you let it grow out of control, you need to tackle it and get it off the list. And if you get it done first thing in the day, imagine the burden lifted off your plate; by lunchtime you will have quite a sense of accomplishment circling around you. With that being said, don’t put a long term project on your To-Do list (such as “Start and submit that big business proposal”, or “Build the kid’s treehouse”), and hope to nail it that day. Break it into smaller pieces (such as “Write the outline to the business proposal”, or “Sketch the plans for the treehouse”)

A To-Don’t list:

You might need to be reminded that there are things you shouldn’t waste time on. Reading every flyer that comes in your mailbox wastes time. So does reading every Facebook post, Twitter feed, and personal email. A great to-do item (which helps on the to-don’t list) would be: “Go Through Email and un-subscribe to those wasteful emails I had to subscribe to when I got my museum membership”, etc.

OK, I went over my 300 words, but there’s more to talk with this big topic. Stay tuned.




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