You should place tasks you won't achieve on your to do list - here's why #todolist #achieve #planning
Planning & Organization

Your To Do List Should Have The Tasks You Know You Won’t Achieve (And Why This Is An Excellent Idea)

Hey, there, you superhero! (yes, you are! 🙂 )

My crystal ball tells me you have a lot of items on your to-do list, but more often than not you don’t manage to complete all of them.

And as if it’s not enough by itself, you also experience a slight (and this can be an understatement) drop of enthusiasm when you see a half-checked to-do list at the end of a day?

I feel you.

Therefore, you might be confused, amazed, or intrigued by the title?

“Is this thing real and how can it be possible?” you may be thinking.

Or you’re simply eager to find out whether all those moments when you didn’t manage to tick off every task on your to-do list turned out to be a good thing after all?

Well, you might have a reason to be happy about it.

(I’m imagining the flood of joy after the discovery)

There is a way to get the work done and at the same time NOT to achieve all the tasks from your to-do list AND be ok with it.

It only takes a little intentionality…

Read on and discover the logic of this counterintuitive system (and find out if you got it right for yourself without even knowing it 😉 ).

You should place tasks you won't achieve on your to do list - here's why #todolist #achieve #planning

Why is a good thing to put the tasks for which you know upfront you won’t achieve in a planned time frame on your to-do list?

Allow me to explain.

Oftentimes, when making a to-do list, we get carried away on a wave of possibility and enthusiasm without realizing how much time it would take to actually DO the tasks listed.

(take a look at the cons in the post Daily Vs Weekly To-Do List And Which One Fits You Perfectly)

Therefore, the list eventually becomes a would-like-to one instead of a doable one.

And as a result of over-motivation and low time assessment, it is quite common (and not an unexpected surprise) not to complete every task from the list.

On top of that, the feeling of underperformance may emerge (note – not a cool feeling).

So what am I saying here?

The point of this post IS not to do all the tasks, right? And this IS an example of it.


Well, first off, there is no point in feeling bad if it can be prevented.

Having tasks on your list for which you know upfront you won’t achieve overcomes this side-effect. 🙂

And that is exactly what might be the biggest takeaway from this system.

It sets you free from feeling bad if (or better say when) you don’t do all the tasks on your list (just make sure it’s the task you’ve intentionally chosen to serve that purpose).

And you’re ok with it.

However, not any task should be the one that deserves this role.

Which brings us to the next checkpoint…

You should place tasks you won't achieve on your to do list - here's why #todolist #achieve #planning

To which type these tasks belongs to?

Creating a to-do list is a way to remember what you should be doing in a day (or in any time frame you choose), but it can also be viewed as a tool which helps you to enhance productivity.

And to make the most out of your day (to be productive and time-efficient), you need to know the 3 basic concepts – at least by my humble opinion.

If in need to freshen up the memory, read Your Key To Productivity – The Three Things You Need To Know)

Having that in mind, you’re probably aware not any task should be chosen to be left unfinished (or even not started).

And I’m sure you realize to which class this task should belong to.

*Pssst, if you want to make this a game, take your guess -or show your knowledge- now and I’m telling the answer in the next sentence.* 😉

(a pause for those who are engaged in a previous challenge) 🙂

The item(s) you choose to be intentionally left unchecked in your to-do list should be the one(s) which belong to the fourth field of the Eisenhower matrix – the place which keeps both not urgent nor important tasks.

Or put it differently, those are the tasks which would not give you the value for the time and effort they consume.

The ones which don’t leave an impact on your growth, either personal or professional.

The ones which serve no higher purpose (or any purpose at all!).

Maybe they look like fun stuff to do or are conscious/subconscious excuses to procrastinate on some more important task (yes, it is also a possibility!) and that’s why you included them in your to-do list previously (meaning, before reading this).

But now you know – they have one purpose only.

And that is to be intentionally left unfinished.

As a result,  when you don’t do them, you won’t feel bad about it (or honestly miss a thing).

And if you DO do them, it simply means you did everything you should really do prior to them. 🙂

Cool, huh? 😉

You should place tasks you won't achieve on your to do list - here's why #todolist #achieve #planning

How to set up this system?

By now you are aware there are a couple of things worth keeping in mind when it comes to setting up this system.

Some of those are:

    • How to tame zillion and one item from entering your to-do list?
    • How to discover those intentionally will-not-be-done tasks?
    • How many of intentionally not-to-be-done tasks should you include in a list?…
    • …and how to make sure they will be the last one left there?
    • How to choose the right amount of tasks you can/will do, so the only tasks left on a list will be the ones you intentionally planned for it?
  • How to enjoy the process of making (and nailing) your to-do list – because feeling stressed about all the work ahead of you simply sucks (plus it ain’t healthy in the long run)?

And since I don’t want this post to be super-out-of-this-world lengthy, I’ll cover those topics some other time.

Keep up the good work with the help of your to-do list, and be cool with the results! 😉

Pssst... Here are more related posts just for you, dear! 😉

You should place tasks you won't achieve on your to do list - here's why #todolist #achieve #planning

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