Did you know that to-do lists, on their own, don’t work? In this episode, I explain why and what you need to do to ensure you get the most out of your productivity system.
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Episode 195 | Script
Hello and welcome to episode 195 of the Working With Podcast. A podcast to answer all your questions about productivity, time management, self-development, and goal planning. My name is Carl Pullein and I am your host for this show.
I think many of you have found that just developing the habit of using a task-manager, or to-do list, doesn’t really work in the long term. Yes, they do help you to remember things you may otherwise forget, but they don’t move you forward on your goals or your projects. It can become frustrating.
This week’s question is all about the parts that are rarely written or spoken about and hopefully, I will be able to unblock your task manager so it puts you on track to achieving your goals and completing your projects.
Now, before we get to this week’s question, if you haven’t already done so, I strongly recommend you download my FREE Areas of Focus workbook. It’s going to be a part of this week’s episode and it will enable you to start tightening up your task manager so that you are focused on the right things.
The download link is in the show notes.
Okay, on with the show and that means it’s time for me now to hand you over to the Mystery Podcast Voice, for this week’s question.
This week’s question comes from Timothy. Timothy asks, Hi Carl, I’ve recently started using a to-do list and have it set up for the Time Sectors. I really love it, but I find all I am doing is reacting to what my customers and boss want me to do and I don’t have time to do anything else. Is there a way to add in my goals so I have time to do something about these as well?
Hi Timothy, thank you for your question.
What you describe is quite common for a lot of people who begin consistently using a to-do list for the first time. Most people have used to-do lists at some point or another for things like a packing list before going on holiday, or when redecorating a home. There’s nothing new about a to-do list.
The problem with to-do lists is they are very focused on the here and now. Rarely do people use them to plan out what needs to happen to achieve a goal or to complete a long-term project. They become reactive instead of being used proactively.
What do I mean by that?
Well, most people I come across tend to put tasks on their list that are demanding attention now. Quieter, more long-term tasks tend to be placed in folders such as Someday/Maybe or just get added to a list and forgotten about. It’s when this happens that our longer-term goals and projects get relegated to the bottom of the list and that means there’s no time to do anything about them.
What we need to do is to reverse the way we manage our to-do lists. This does not mean we stop doing the loud, urgent tasks—we still need to do these—but we don’t want to allow them to dominate our day. We need to become more strategic about things.
What I mean by this is to use the power of the modern-day to-do lists to make sure each day our most important work comes up at the top of our lists. And when I say “our most important work”, I mean those tasks that move our goals and project forward. While these may not be the loudest tasks on our to-do list, they are still the most important if you want to take back control of your time.
Your to-do lis