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Friday, May 10, 2013

Response: Successful People Have Short To-Do Lists

I've been sick with a sore throat, sinus pressure, and fluid in my ears. Yuck. Needless to say, I spent most of the week on the couch watching Gilmore Girls, napping, and trying to study for finals. So, instead of my usual TGIF post, I thought I'd mix it up by responding to an interesting piece I read on Wednesday.

The post Successful People Have Short To-Do Lists argues that you'll be more successful by narrowing your to-do list down to six tasks: three items to be done that day and three smaller items working towards a long-term goal. Vanderkam argues that by creating a smaller list, one will be more likely to complete all the items on their list. This creates a feeling of accomplishment. On the contrary, when most people have endless to-do lists, some things get done while others are uncompleted: leaving you to spend your free time worrying about the tasks that you should be doing.

Immediately after reading this article, I felt that this theory made perfect sense. Then, I scrolled down and saw this comment:
"Does someone else answer her email? Her phone? Clean her toilet? Cook her meals?"
 And, I just had to laugh. While I understand that the point of a limited to-do list is to focus your efforts at work and to create a feeling of accomplishment, the fact is that there are so many things that any person has to get done during the day. Narrowing all the noise into just six items seems impossible. And, frankly, if I don't write a task down I probably won't even remember that it's something that I need to do.

But, then I tried to quickly put together a six-point to-do list: study for my final, write a blog post, clean around the apartment, outline a sponsorship plan, some brainstorming organization, and .......... I couldn't think of a sixth thing to add to the list. Run to Target for errands? Yeah, I suppose that's something that I should do but it's going to happen and doesn't really need to go on the list.

So, maybe a six-point to-do list isn't that far-fetched. I've decided to try it out and to report-back next week. What do you guys think: feasible or not?

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