Sunday, February 19, 2012

[Link] Why You Should Throw Away Your To-Do List

by Walter Chen

I’ve never been good at to-do lists. For me, a to-do list is more a theoretical approach than an actual tool. No matter how many times I’ve tried to put a daily to-do list into practice, it never becomes routine.

They’re too easy to ignore. They nag me only just enough to be annoying, not enough to help me to get stuff done. They put me in a grumpy mood.

Simply put, they don’t give me no satisfaction. I can see that there are just more items to get to, but I know that they’re never really going to stop. Life becomes a big monstrous hydra of tasks, where you cut off one head, cross off one item, and two more pop out.

Keep a “Done List”

Instead of a to-do list, I keep a done list. Every day, when I’m winding down my day, I do a quick mental scan of my day and write down what I got done. It may seem counterintuitive, but it helps me plan out my day, and gets me amped to kick butt and get stuff done.

How can things that are done be a productivity tool and why is this more powerful than a to-do list? It comes down to concreteness. All that stuff on your Done List? They’re done!

It’s a record of real results, not intangible goals or wishful thinking. And those results bring all sorts of positive feelings and energy because you’ve achieved something and you want to keep achieving something. You’ll find yourself riding that motivational wave of positivity to get stuff done the next day and the next and the next.

And if you fall off your board? That’s okay, just catch that next wave.

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What do you think? Would a "Done" list make you more productive, or is it an affront to hard-working, organized writers everywhere?