To-do lists as menus vs. scheuldes

File:Joey K's daily specials.jpgTo-do lists are an essential part of a productive day for many people. I tend to prefer a to-relax list over a to-do list as I explain here. However, when your plate is full with menial tasks that just have to get done, to-do lists are still the best way to get focused.

Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of menial tasks on my plate to start the year so I’ve been using to-do lists pretty often. One of the things I noticed is that based on how much time I “think” I have, I will create my to-do list differently.

On the days I allow myself time to sit and really think about my day, I set-up my to-do list like a schedule. I look at the hours I have in the day, the tasks I have to work on, and how long each task will take. Then I create the to-do list with time blocks assigned to each item.  As a result, hour by hour throughout my day I know exactly what I should be working on and if I’m falling behind schedule.

On the days I feel I have to rush to get working, I just right down everything I have to do in no particular order as fast as I can. Then throughout the day I pick and choose what to work on like I’m selecting items from a menu.

As you may expect, I always get more done on the days I take the time to implement my to-do list as a schedule. I spend less time procrastinating, less time surfing the web, and less time mindlessly snacking.

I now realize that rushing through the day is costing me the time I thought I was saving.

With that said, my conclusion is simple. Slowing down to plan out your day allows you to get more done than rushing to start.