Why To Do Lists Don’t Work


One of the most frequent excuses I hear for not working out is being too busy.  Busyness is actually a form of laziness reflecting a lack of planning and preparation to properly manage your time.  In my own experience, the tool most often used to manage time – the to do list – is actually one of the biggest time wasters.

To do lists are the devil.  For one, they’re never ending.  My mind is constantly racing with new thoughts and ideas.  I love to do lists because they give me an outlet where I can dump my brain.  The problem is that the to do list grows and grows and a lot of stuff just doesn’t get done – usually the important stuff.

In my never-ending quest to conquer my own ADD and actually get stuff done, I’ve had to tweak the to do list concept.  At the beginning of each week I write down what I want to accomplish by the end of the week and by the end of the month.  Doing this really forces me to put things in perspective.  When I step back from my to do list and think about what I want to have done by the end of the month, it really makes me think about the big picture.

Break your monthly goals into weekly goals and focus on the next week of your life.  What’s going to get done by the end of this week?  Specifically outline everything that needs to get done to meet those deliverables, and you have a to do list of tasks that actually count.  Anything you add to that list is superfluous because you know that as long as you accomplish what’s on the original list you’ve accomplished your major goals for the week.

Now you can feel good about yourself and make time to work out.  Yeah, here’s an item to add to your to do list: “take care of my body!”

[ photo: flickr ]

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