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MISTAKE #4 – WRITING TASKS THAT TAKE TOO LONG TO DO
Nothing’s going to stay on your TO DO list longer than a task that you will never have time to complete.
If you are just writing down a massive end goal such as redecorate a room or start a business, then you will always skim over this when looking for things to do.
— HOW TO FIX IT?
We tend to work much better when we have smaller, easier tasks to do.
As such I suggest using a category for a project you want to complete, or a goal you want to meet – and then have sub tasks below that.
For example – for “redecorate a room”, you may then have sub categories like – “pick colour of walls”, “decide on layout”, “find a decorator”, “write shopping list”, “buy x”, “buy y”, “buy z” etc….
All of these are much easier to tackle in the busy-ness of daily life one at a time, and before you know it, you will have completed the whole big task!.
The other benefit of doing it this way is that you will be able to see what you’ve done on something and what you have left to do, so it’s easier to delegate tasks if necessary and get more done while still keeping track.
MISTAKE #5 – YOU AVOID TASKS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO
Doing this means that tasks can really haunt you on a daily basis…
You will forever see them on your list, and feel more and more negative towards it as a result.
It’s so draining to constantly be reminded of things we don’t want to do, and I don’t recommend it as a way to tackle your list at all.
— HOW TO FIX IT?
Just get it done.
I know it sounds simple, but it’s so effective and can make all the difference to your general levels of motivation.
I wrote a post a long while back about eating a frog, which explains the simple theory that if you do something you don’t want to do right at the start of the day, the rest of the day seems so much easier and you get more done overall. (You can read more about this HERE).
If it helps, you could give these sort of tasks a pretend deadline and work towards that for more urgency to get it done on time, but don’t allow procrastination to set it, tasks are often much easier when you start them than you have thought they would be.
MISTAKE #6 – TASKS WITH DEADLINES ARE ON YOUR LIST
A good example of this is if you are invited to a wedding in 6 months time. You will have to sort out a present, maybe overnight accommodation etc… but as it’s so far in advance it just goes on your MASTER TO DO LIST.
This means that it runs the real risk of being missed until it’s too late to get a nice present, and all the local accommodation has been booked up. Not only is this more stressful for you, but it’s embarrassing and completely avoidable…
— HOW TO FIX IT?
It doesn’t matter how far in advance a task has a deadline for, if it has a deadline that’s set in stone then it should go in your diary at the right time to ensure it’s done in plenty of time.
For the wedding example above, write a TO DO in your diary as soon as possible to book accommodation so that it’s sorted, and then maybe 2 months before the wedding you can look for a present which will give plenty of time for anything personalised or with a long delivery date.
MISTAKE #7 – YOU HAVE MULTIPLE TO DO LISTS EVERYWHERE
It’s so easy to write little notes for yourself as your day goes on with reminders and things to get done, but before long you’ll be in a mess and it has the potential that a lot of these things get lost along the way.
The biggest difficulty comes when you have separate lists for the various different parts of your life i.e. work, play, social etc…
— HOW TO FIX IT?
Keep your TO DO list on you at all times so you can add to it wherever you are, and only have 1 TO DO list at any one time.
I usually have a note set up on my mobile phone where I add in things I think about during the day, and then have the habit of transferring these things to my MASTER TO DO list or DIARY at the end of the day.
If I am at home (where I keep my MASTER TO DO list), then I add those things to it straight away.
It doesn’t matter what the TO DO relates to, it all goes down on one list – I can categorise to see things things more clearly, but I know exactly what I have to do at any given time.
After all, I am only 1 person so it stands to reason that everything is in one place that relates to me!
Do whatever works best for you, but get a system that means you aren’t forever writing things on post it notes or your hand or anywhere else that’s right there when you want to note it down…
The main fixes from all these mistakes are as follows:-
- Use 1 list for everything that needs doing – a MASTER TO DO list
- Categorise the list so that you can clearly see what has to be done and where you are on certain larger tasks
- Only have things that aren’t scheduled and are really needed on your MASTER TO DO list
- Be proactive and do everything on the list without procrastinating about the things you really don’t want to do.
I hope so!
P.S. If you’d like to know more about TO DO lists, specifically how you can tackle a never ending TO DO list, then you may want to take a look at this post next (CLICK HERE).