Written by: Agnese Rudzate, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Shopping list, Playlist, reading list, top 10 places to visit list, jokes list, to-don’t list, to-do list, etc. It seems like we love creating lists. But do they actually serve us or hold us back? If you look at your life every day, you probably encounter several lists of who you have either created yourself or someone has done it for you. I personally have more than 100 lists on my phone that reminds me of different things starting from household chores to ideas and much more.
Before we get into why you should (must) delete your to-do list, there are many benefits of other types of lists. They're not all evil. Lists can be super helpful:
They serve as a great mind organizer.
It’s a simple structure that doesn’t require specific knowledge.
It’s easy to read them and add at any time.
They look great, are organized, and are easy to share.
It’s one of those things that our minds like as it’s easier to soak up the information because of the way they're structured.
However, there is one very dangerous list that I would like to suggest you get rid of right now. I’m talking about your to-do list. Just because we are thought to create it doesn’t mean it has our best interest at heart.
When I looked online, I saw hundreds of articles about the benefits of a to-do list. The reasonings why they are needed, how they keep us organized and give us a plan to follow. Unfortunately, this is very wrong. Very wrong.
Let’s look at 3 main benefits that my online research has provided me with:
To do list provides you with a plan. This couldn't be further from the truth. The To-do list itself is not a plan. It’s a list. It gives you a vague idea of things you “have” to do that should help you move towards your goal. However, the plan is something very different. The biggest difference is that plan has a timeline attached. It makes it scalable, unlike to-do list. The problem with a to-do list is that you can literally add anything there - big tasks, small tasks, tasks that take 1 minute, and those that take all day. Unless you are super aware of your timings and can precisely predict how long each task will take, you will only create more anxiety for yourself. This looks more like a situation "going with the flow" rather than "having a plan." By constantly and uncontrollably adding to your to-do list, you only make it harder for yourself to follow the “plan.”
To-do list increases your productivity. This is a funny one. We have thought that it helps us not waste our time and keeps us focused on the most important tasks, therefore making us productive. OMG. While it helps us see what we need to do, unless we make time for it, to-do list will stay a to-do list for as long as we keep one. Whether your to-do list has 20 tasks or 3 for the day, unless you schedule them in your timetable, you will only make yourself disappointed. This happens at the end of the day when you realize how little you have actually ticked off from that list. And this is one of the biggest problems with to-do lists. They create too much flexibility. Therefore it’s much easier to get distracted, pulled away from the task, and lose focus. Because it doesn’t have a time block attached to it.
To-do list helps with motivation. They can be very helpful to gain clarity, but only if used as a short-term help rather than a temporary thing. You can create motivation if you follow your passion and keep yourself accountable to do what you said you were going to do. Many entrepreneurs that I have encountered feel extreme anxiety, stress and tend to procrastinate when looking at their to-do lists. Unless you only put things like - "playing with unicorns on top of the rainbow" in it, it can highly diminish your motivation. And, of course, these types of activities will not move your business forward. You need to find a way to stop procrastinating and actually get to work and complete your daily goals.
If you are too afraid to let go of it, use it as a quick tool to help you create better clarity. Use it when creating a roadmap, when putting together a plan, when scheduling your daily activities. But never use it as a collection of things that you need to do now, or later, or maybe never. It’s a very bad habit that keeps you highly unproductive. Because it gives you too much flexibility, illusion that there are unlimited hours in a day.
There is a solution on how to achieve your goals after you delete your to-do list. This one simple technique will not only help you reach your set goals faster but also keep you accountable. It will create a habit of doing allow you to not over exhaust yourself when trying to fit your to-do list in a day.
The simple, no-brainer solution is to schedule your tasks. That's it! By putting your to-do list in your calendar, you will:
give yourself a time frame for each of them.
prioritize much more effectively because you only have a set amount of hours to fill.
be more attentive and focused on the tasks to complete them in the time frame you set up.
become much more aware of things that don’t deserve your time.
be more present at work, at home, and in other activities throughout the day simply because time is limited.
Do you feel the power in this? Do you now see the fundamental disadvantages of keeping a to-do list?
They say it gives you the confidence to achieve more once you are able to tick things off your to-do list. Imagine what confidence it would create if you could accomplish everything you scheduled in? All the daily priorities that really move your life and business forward? How rewarding would that feel? Would that boost your confidence?
Agnese Rudzate, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Agnese Rudzate is a Business Productivity Coach and Time-management expert with a professional background in Quality Management and Empowerment Coaching. She has turned her lifelong passion for organizing into her mission, helping women gain the confidence, clarity, and time freedom they deserve by providing action steps, tools, and customized strategies. Agnese is a firm believer that anyone can achieve business or personal goals through a deeply focused effort based on her coaching. Through structure, systems, and processes that bring results, Agnese teaches her clients to manage their business with ease, create time freedom, and scale profits.