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Useful tips TO-DO Lists

Useful tips on creating TO-DO LISTS that you’ll really want to follow

1) FORCE PRODUCTIVITY BY CLOSING LOOP

The Zeigarnik Effect : In psychology, the Zeigarnik effect (less common: Ovsiankina-Effect) states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.  http://en.wikipedia.org

The tasks that have remained uncompleted at the end of each day can build up and give you an unconscious feeling of dissatisfaction. This is a so called open-loop feeling that will usually be your mind bugging you about tasks until their done. Psychologists call this the Zeigarnik effect, Pahwa notes.

“Our mind will remain fixated on an unfinished task, causing our mental and physical health to suffer too,” she writes. “Upon completion we are freed from the burden of this task.”

There are apps out there that help you subdue your I-need-do-this-later feeling into your phone—but remember, it wont get the task done for you and compiling endless lists of tasks I-still-have-to-do will just burden you more than ever and cause all kinds of other problems. Best solution is “close the loop” by getting the task done.

2) DON’T SIMULATE YOUR DAY

But Pehwa has bad news for us too: Procrastination researcher (that’s a thing!) Tim Pychyl has found that we tend to trick ourselves with the act of listing. We feel like we’ve accomplished something–look, a list!–without actually doing anything.

Don’t make your main task of the day “making a task list !!!” as this will become a habit that leads to limited results and you wont understand why…

3) MIND YOUR MENTAL ENERGY

Simulating your productivity would be fine–if you had unlimited energy. But we don’t: The mental energy we have cycles throughout the day, and every time we make a decision, we erode those energy levels, ending up with decision fatigue, that sense of ugh-I-can’t-do-anything.

So if you write a long list of vague to-dos, you’ll end up exhausted and undone.

4) CONDENSE YOUR LIST

Citing our emphatically finite stores of daily energy, Pehwa recommends listing three tasks for a given day and getting

those done. We’d like to expand on that.

As Getting Things Done author David Allen recently explained, prioritization governs proper productivity. So our lists should be similarly prioritized.

Our favorite method is the 1-3-5 Rule:

…. assume that on any given day you can accomplish one big mission, three medium tasks, and five small things. Get those done as best you can. Then, as your workday concludes (which might be when you’re journaling in bed), make the next day’s 1-3-5. Like laying out your clothes the night before, this defuses the groggy tension of early morning decision making, which we all dislike.

5) OLD TRICKS FOR A BETTER FIX

There is nothing like a pen and paper to create a real list that you will carry with you, see yourself crossing or ticking off tasks that trigger off that satisfying feeling.

Pehwa goes a step further and recommends using the humble notecard and Post-it note. Why? Because if you’re making short, crisp lists, then you should use a short, crisp writing medium. The space, we know, shapes the work.

6) MAKE SURE YOUR TO-DOS ARE ACTIONS

Every to-do should include a verb–otherwise you won’t do it.

Pehwa’s take:

… instead of “find movers” try “call mom and ask her to suggest a mover.’” Or “start and finish research for Tim” try “Do a journal article search using the terms: XYZ.”

So what we need to do with any big project is de-tangle what the most immediate step in getting it done is. There’s a name for this skill: process thinking, which is a must-have for any project team.

LEADERSHIP NOW

Useful tips on creating TO-DO LISTS that you’ll really want to follow

Taken from an article by DRAKE BAER