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To-do lists are foundational tools in our never-ending search for how to be more productive. There are countless apps, strategies, theories, and methods for maintaining the best, most productive to-do list.
But could we be mistaken? Could the to-do list be holding us back? Many highly productive people say yes. And they have some interesting ideas on how to be more productive without using a to-do list.
Task - Lists - Benefits - Place - Drawbacks
Task lists certainly have benefits — if they didn’t, we wouldn’t use them in the first place. But they also have some serious drawbacks.
For example, to-do lists can become a major tool of procrastination. Have you ever decided to sit down and organize your list instead of getting started on a task on it? I certainly have — and more than a few times. We feel like we’re being productive when we’re working on our list instead of actually working.
Hand - Lists - Time - Items - List
On the other hand, to-do lists make us feel like we never get enough done. When was the last time you checked off all the items on your list? I think I’ve done it once in the past three or four years. Even if you do discover how to be more productive, you’ll never feel like you’ve succeeded.
One reason that we never check all of the things on the list off is that to-do lists don’t take time into account. Unless you’re keeping an extremely detailed list, a 10-hour project will look exactly the same as a 10-minute one. And you feel highly productive if you check off lots of small, less-important tasks that only take a few minutes.
Choices - Something - Lists - Choices - Things
All of those choices might seem nice because you always have something you can work on, but to-do lists overwhelm us with choices. If you have 47 things on your list, your brain starts fighting back. It gets...
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