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Don’t Make a To-Do List!

Yes, you read that right: don’t make a to-do list. Here’s why…we all make to-do lists, and they end up just sitting there day after day, week after week, month after month. Here’s what works better: put your to-do items into your calendar. That’s right! Figure out what you have to do and then schedule the tasks on certain days.

This works better because you are setting aside the time to do the task. You can also lump together certain tasks that are related or located near each other. For example, if you need to get your laptop fixed, and the place where you bring your computer is near a supermarket, you can drop off your laptop and go grocery shopping while your laptop is getting fixed.

If you need to do a bunch of tiny errands in various places, figure out when you’ll be near each of those places so that you don’t have to make a special trip.

There is one exception to my “no to-do list” rule and that is for small, ongoing, quick to-do tasks. I do not put these tasks in my calendar; instead they are kept in a list in my “notes” app on my phone. Again, these are those tasks that are small, fewer than 10 minutes, and ongoing. The reason for this is because I find that there are many times in my life when I’m waiting for someone (e.g., a friend, my doctor, my hairdresser, an Uber), and instead of checking Facebook, I could use the 5-10 minutes to tackle one of my ongoing, small to-do items! One example is putting contact information into my phone’s contact list. If I have a few minutes while waiting in the waiting room of my doctor, I can use that time to enter a person’s business card information into my phone. It’s a quick task that can be done anywhere. Listening to voicemails and deleting them from my phone is another quick (well…hopefully!) task that can be done anywhere. You could pay an online bill just about anywhere from your phone as well. Maybe there’s a blog you follow that you never seem to have time to read; if you’re waiting for 10 minutes in a hair salon, why not read it then? Again, this can be on your phone or your tablet. Most of these tasks are things that I can do from my phone quickly. But you could also clean out your purse or wallet and save your phone’s battery!

This might not work for everyone, but try it! See if putting your to-do items into your calendar — strategically of course — is something that helps you to tackle your to dos more efficiently than keeping them in one long list.

Cheryl Russo

February 2018

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