21 To-Do List Mistakes That Stop You From Completing Your To-Do List

to-do list mistakes
You use a to-do list to guide you; to plan and schedule what must be done. Having such a list is a great start, but do you get the satisfaction of ever completing your to-do list?

It’s frustrating.. and sometimes you wondering why?

On Writing …

1. You don’t always get the lurking items out of your head and onto the to-do list.

2. You are not clear about what you are trying to accomplish and why.

3. The to-do list does not reflect the most important task, you need to achieve for a given day.

4. The tasks are not properly broken down into sub-tasks.

5. Dependent tasks are not properly identified.

6. The tasks in the to-do list are too vague.

7. You have not “grouped” related tasks.

8. You haven’t prioritized the to-do list.

9. You don’t keep a separate list for each category (home, work etc).

10. You prioritize the to-do list incorrectly.

11. You keep adding new tasks continuously.

12. The to-do list is too long.

13. The to-do list is badly worded.

14. You have more items on your to-do list than you have time to do!

On Execution...

15. You get side tracked with distractions.

16. You don’t set time-lines on tasks.

17. Keeping track of the to-do list and updating it is too complex (electronic versions etc)

18. You don’t have the to-do list with you all the time and sometimes, unsure of what to do next.

19. You do tasks that are not in the list (that eats up your time!)

20. You don’t use your most productive hours, for demanding tasks.

21. You don’t review your to-do list regularly (morning, evening?)

Be ruthless… reexamine your to-do list. Are any of your mistakes listed here? Any more you would like to contribute to the above list?

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positively present said...

What a great list! I love to make To-Do lists, but sometimes they're hard to complete... Now I know why! :)

Shamelle said...

@positively present: I know what you mean. Reading through this I realize that these are very obvious reasons which we sometimes fail to address.

Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills said...

I never get them all done, but it doesn't leave me feeling frustrated. I usually get other things done I hadn't planned on. There's always a little wiggle room.

Jonathan Figaro said...

Thanks man, i forgot about the time line thing. I'm going to place that asap! Great post! I need that!

Shamelle said...

@Jonathan: Leaving wiggle room in the todo list is a good idea. I must try it.

@Jonathan: Without timelines, we might spend a lot of time on one task. I don't think we can give the exact time, but at at least we can say, "I will only work on this until 11.00 am " etc

suZen said...

Marvelous thorough look at lists! I love it! And I love making lists as well. Do it all the time. One thing I do - it's probably cheating? - is I always manage to do something that IS NOT on the list (I am easily distracted!) so I then add it to the list and immediately cross it off. Helps me feel like I've accomplished more! ha!

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