Are These Items on Your To-Do List?

John Krautzel
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Your to-do list represents the lifeblood of your daily tasks. You find 10 million ways to organize your schedule to make your life easier, but is this time management method the best way for you to optimize your day? One way to determine the usefulness of this trick is to evaluate the content of your list. Here are six items that you should never put on your list.

1. A Task You Never Complete

You may rewrite a task on your to-do list over and over again for weeks and weeks and never get it done. If that task is such a low priority, why include it on your list in the first place? You've probably written it down so much you have this line item memorized, so just cross it off and revisit it later when you have time.

2. Everyday Things

Your to-do list should contain things you must remind yourself to accomplish on a particular workday. Chances are, you don't have to remember to check your email or attend your daily meeting with your supervisor every morning. You already remember to work on daily tasks, so leave those off of your checklist.

3. Quick Items

Items that take less than five minutes to complete don't belong on your to-do list. That's because you have tons of things like this at work. Once you think of a quick item for your list, don't take the time to write it down. Instead, just finish the task and move onto the next item in your day. You may find yourself more productive as you don't write down as much stuff.

4. Tasks You Can Delegate

You're just one person, and you cannot do everything. That's why you delegate tasks to other people. Delegating mundane things that other people can take care of gives you more time to focus on what you do best. Giving other people something to do helps produce positive results in the team and contributes to the company's profit margins because the team is more productive.

5. Long-Term Projects

Long-term projects are too complicated to put on a to-do list. You would have to break down a large project into incremental steps for this to make sense on a small piece of paper. Besides, you probably have project management software on your computer that handles project deadlines and productivity concerns automatically. Technology offers great time management tools that remove things from your high-priority list in front of you.

6. Long Lists

Keep your daily tasks to around three to five things you can accomplish within one workday. This can include a portion of a larger project, getting in touch with an important client or talking to someone in another department. A long list can paralyze your workday since you might feel overwhelmed. Pick just a few things from your master list and get those done right away.

A to-do list represents the highest-priority tasks you must finish before you leave work in one day. You do not have time to make your lineup any more complicated than that. Once you get rid of unnecessary items on your sticky note, you may find yourself more productive than ever.

Photo courtesy of nuttakit at


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