5 Ways To Improve Productivity With Your TO-DO List

Most everyone I know has at one time, or currently does use, at TO-DO list to boost productivity.  This list, often hastily constructed not well organized, can be a real albatross, a proverbial millstone around ones neck, if not used properly.

How To Measure Productivity

Janet Choi of iDoneThis cites the following TO-DO list statistics from her organization:

  • 41% of to-do items were never completed
  • 50% of completed to-do items were done within a day
  • 18% of completed to-do items were done within an hour
  • 10% of completed to-do items were done within a minute
  • 15% of “dones” started as to-do items

So what can we infer about one’s productivity from these observations?

  • People are taking the time to write down a bunch of stuff that they never do
  • To-do items are, for the most part, short-term in nature
  • In at least 10% of the cases, people take more time to write down a to-do than it takes to complete it — sabotaging your productivity!

Boost Productivity With A Cleaner TO-DO List

The stats and comments above lead me to the conclusion that most people don’t know how to properly create and use a to-do list.  Here are some things you can put to work immediately to make your to-do list a much more effective and productive part of your day.

  1. Your to-do list cannot be a dumping ground.  Many people use this list as a catch all – a place to make notes and capture items for future action.  Doing so crowds the list with distracting information – and that ultimately hurts your productivity.
  2. Your to-do list should be clean.  It should only contain the items you are trying to accomplish today.
  3. Your to-do list must be focused on your most important goalsIf you are going to be truly successful, your daily actions – those items recorded on your to-do list – must flow from your goals.  Creating goals, and then boiling them down into tasks that must be accomplished each day, is the only true pathway to achieving your dreams.
  4. Your to-do list must be realistic.  Having three pages of action items to accomplish today when you know, at best, you are going to get a half page of them done, is only setting yourself up for failure.  Be realistic with what you can accomplish.
  5. Your to-do list must be prioritized and updated daily.  I recommend reviewing your to-do list at the end of each day to improve your productivity.  Go through what you’ve accomplished during the day, congratulate yourself for all you’ve done, make a clean list for tomorrow, and then prioritize your list (i.e., what you are going do 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

Following these simple steps will help you get the most out of your life by keeping your focused on doing the right things, in the right order.  As always, if you need assistance with anything, contact us at 203.599.1467 or via email at info@optechs.com.  We’re here to help you!


©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (optechs.com).  All rights reserved.

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