Put productivity items in the right place. A to-do task does not go in your calendar. An appointment does not go in your to-do list. Here are the four type of productivity items:
- Calendar items
- To do tasks
Do.List is designed to be for #3 and can be used for brief notes (#4). It's absolutely not a calendar.
When you put tasks into your calendar, you miss the deadline and then the task falls into an abyss. If you put notes into your to-do list, your lists become long and messy. So, use Do.List for to-dos!
If something has been on your to do list forever, force yourself to do one of two things:
- Delete it: If you haven't done it, it's probably because you subconsciously don't want to. So, ask yourself "is this that important?" If not, delete or erase it.
- Break it into chunks: If it's important, then figure out what the smallest possible starting point would be. Put that small milestone at the top of your list.
When you let tasks you'll never do take over, your list becomes a toxic, daunting, horrible thing. Seriously, erase toxic tasks. If you absolutely must do that terrible task then get moving, start with a small milestone.
Write to-dos in a way that clearly tells you what to do. If you already know some details, add those to the task. Ambiguous to do items are less likely to get done. Clear instructions help compel you into action. For example, which of these would you be more likely to do:
- Book hotel
- No notes
- Book beach hotel: Nov 25-30
- Try hotels.com and to find one with breakfast included
If you know all those details, put them on paper. Later, when you see that clear starting point, you'll be more likely to do it.