Berger Leadership Blog

Jul 17, 2015

Is your to-do list helping or hurting?

Dollarphotoclub_80944505Do you like to use to-do lists? I do, but like most people, I rarely complete all my list items. However, I don’t feel that bad about it – at least not now:  According to an article in Forbes, 41 percent of the items on the average to-do list are never finished.

That means that to-do lists often turn into more of a source of stress than satisfaction. “It’s no wonder we feel so overwhelmed in the day, but fight insomnia at night,” Forbes notes.

Also – when you pick items to finish from the list, are you picking the most important items or just focusing on what can get done fast? That can leave important issues – like regular check-ups with your doctor – unaddressed because of that never-ending list of more “urgent” (but less important) tasks.

Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse says that in his more than 200 interviews with billionaires, Olympic athletes and entrepreneurs, no one has mentioned a to-do list. Instead, he says, they “live and work from their calendar.” Calendars show you how much time you’re spending on each issue, allow you to prioritize and keep things balanced. When you’re not trying to race through a list but are working to balance your week, you might find it helps you focus on what you need – and what your team needs.

Think about how best to balance your day and week in terms of what you need to do to work best with your team. Think in terms of what your organization needs from you. If you keep postponing the important things in favor of finishing off a list of small things, you won’t be doing yourself or your team any favors.