The To-Do List

Beware the To-Do list! Use it, don’t let it use you. It is a running list of the things that you would like to get done but also don’t support your priorities. Placing to-do list items ahead of priorities is what makes people feel exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed. Do not focus on completing the items on this list. If they must be accomplished, then they will become priorities. Otherwise, they are busywork or distractions to be done at your leisure.

Only One List For the Week?

Yes. Too many to-do list items would lead to distraction and cause it to overtake your day. It is placed at the beginning of the week so that you can refer back to it, but it should also be far enough away that you don’t distract yourself with it. Be intentional about referring back to the to-do list at a specified time in your day. You should actively work on the day that you are working on, not the to-do list.

When to Do “To-Dos”

Schedule your to-do list for later in the day. Make sure that your priorities are done first. Most to-do list items should not require a high level of concentration and can be done after we’ve become a little mentally exhausted from the day’s events. Do not let “to-do’s” steal from your progress toward your goals. You don’t want to use your prime focus time on to-do’s, use that for your priorities.

When To-Dos Become Urgent

Every now and again, a to-do list item will become urgent. Either because of something unexpected or because it was neglected for too long. It may then need to become a priority. It happens to everyone but it should not happen consistently. If it is, then either you need to reaccess how you use your time or what is truly a priority.