Get More Done: Write Your To-Do List
Does your to-do list just seem to get longer and longer every day? Do you feel like you never complete any of the important items on your to-do list? Do you write your to-do list or just try to remember everything you need to do? I have noticed that when I write my to-do list on paper, it changes my commitment level and I am more likely to complete those tasks.
Too Many To-Do’s
Before we talk about why you should write your to-do list, let’s chat about having a realistic to-do list. It’s so easy to overwhelm ourselves and have a to-do list with too many items every day. Can you actually complete all the items on your current to-do list every day? Maybe if they are simple tasks like sweeping the floors or laying out clothes for your children to wear tomorrow.
What if your tasks are more complex and require more time for you to work through them? If you have 10 tasks that each require 1 hour of challenging work or deep concentration, it’s not likely you will complete all of them in one day.
Start your daily to-do list with a realistic list of what you can complete. Right now, I have 4 things on my to-do list every day. Most days it’s possible for me to complete each one of them (even though I usually only complete 3) in addition to my daily work and chores. If your daily list is too long, tweak it. Make sure it works for you.
3 Reasons You Should “Write” Your To-Do List
The Rule of Commitment and Consistency
A number of years ago, Dr. Robert Cialdini suggested that people can be persuaded with the theory of commitment and consistency. The theory suggests you get a person to commit to simple beliefs or tasks and because they have committed it is more likely they will complete the task or keep the same belief. It’s simple you commit and then you want to be consistent with your past commitment.
The same is true with your to-do list. The physical action of “writing” your to-do list is a subconscious commitment to complete the task. Once you write the task or project on your to-do list for today, mentally you want to be consistent with your goal and complete the tasks and your to-do list.
“Writing” the Task on Your To-Do List Elevates the Importance
Remember, we are only including the most important tasks on our daily to-do list. If a task or job is included on your to-do list, it’s important that you complete that task today. By selecting a task or chore for your to-do list, you have already decided this task is more important other tasks you have today.
When you ask yourself, what should I do or what should I do next? Have you completed all the tasks on your to-do list today? If not, these things should be complete first because you placed high value and importance on them.
It’s Harder to Skip the Tasks You Don’t Enjoy
We all have daily and weekly tasks we just don’t enjoy and prefer to skip. I really dislike cleaning the bathrooms and if it wasn’t on my weekly chore list, I would skip it. We can’t skip or avoid the difficult and challenging tasks and chores every day.
Writing the tasks we really don’t like on your daily to-do list helps you commit to completing them on a set day. We know that once we commit to a task or chore we are more likely to complete it to be consistent and if it’s on today’s to-do list we have recognized it is an important task to complete.
Here’s your plan to get more done today, tomorrow, and this week. Plan your to-do list, but make sure it’s not too much (be sure you can complete it in the time you have allotted). Write your to-do list on paper and you will benefit from the principle of commitment and consistency, determining the importance of each task and you will stop skipping the tasks and chores you don’t enjoy (we all have to do these some days).
Does writing your to-do list help you focus and commit to completing your daily tasks? How will writing your daily to-do list make you more productive?