Blank To Do List? Read This First

...because it’s how you use it that counts

You'd think that filling in a blank to do list would be a straightforward exercise, and in many respects, it is -- just write everything down that you want to do.

But that’s not what matters...

It’s how  you use it that determines whether or not things actually get done.

Anyone can create one for themselves. But creating and writing a list are only the preparation part of the process.

What really matters is how effective you are at actually doing what's on it.

Imagine it’s the start of a brand new day...

You sit down with your list, thinking of all the things you plan to do. You write them down. Ten minutes later you have a list.

You've already got your day off to a great start. After all, “failing to plan is planning to fail”, right?

But there’s more...

Not only have you made a list; you have prioritized it, assigning each task on it a number based on order of importance.

You clearly know a bit about time management.

But that doesn’t mean you will do it.


Because, 9 times out of 10, your list demands too much from you.

It’s either too long -- there are more things to do than there is time to do them; or it is too busy -- most days, the time required to complete each task is greater than the time you have available.

Most people, when they fill in a blank to do list, bite off more than they can chew.

What happens?

Things don’t get done because the list was unrealistic.

How to create a blank to do list

This is based on an idea from Mark Forster's time management book, Do It Tomorrow:-

Use a daily planner, ideally one with a page a day layout with the date at the top,

  • Today, whenever you decide something is worth doing, put it on your list under tomorrow’s date. At the end of today you will have a list of things to do tomorrow.
  • When tomorrow comes, do something about everything on your list for that day, even if it is only for a couple of minutes.
  • Whatever you don’t finish, continue with the following working day (again, for as long as you feel like doing so).

Each day, estimate how much time you will have available, then plan how much time to spend on your tasks accordingly.

In essence, your blank to do list becomes a finite 'will do' list.

Why this works

Two reasons:

  1. It’s manageable. Your daily list is limited and you don’t have to finish each task on it to completion - you just have to do a bit of it.
  2. You maintain momentum. How often have you started something, only for it to grind to a halt? This simple system prevents that by reducing the resistance to doing it.

Whether you use pen and paper or you do it digitally, most lists rely on self discipline and willpower to get things done.

This way of working eliminates the need to fight your way through to the end of your list. Instead it allows you to work on what you want according to how you feel at any given point during the day.

Do you need to get a better balance in your life?

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Time Management Success

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