Why You Should Throw Away Your To-Do List

Raise your hand if you love making a to-do list… personally, I would have to put both hands up! Over the years, I would make them daily and complete a few tasks on the list, but I never completed them all. I was not accomplishing all of my goals but yet, there I was, making list upon list. As you can imagine, they were scattered all over my house.

So why am I writing about the beloved to-do list? Well, I began to see to-do lists in a new light during a class I took at the start of my coach training. I was instructed to throw away my to-do lists. Whoah! I must admit that I was very resistant to that idea at first. As a matter of fact, I quietly decided I was not going to do it. Little did I know that getting rid of the list was going to be the key to productivity. Sometimes we see things as obstacles when they can be pathways to achievement.

My instructor allowed me to start with a to-do list, but I was not allowed to keep it. This pushed me to be more open-minded….and the results were mind-blowing. Here’s what I was asked to do, and now, here is what I’m asking of you: instead of keeping your to-do list, get a planner or calendar, put your to-do list on the calendar in chunks of time (60 to 90 minutes at a time). Once everything is on the calendar, throw the to-do list away and follow your calendar instead. If a goal or task is on your calendar on an assigned day and given time, your are more likely to follow through with it.

Let’s face it: looking at a to-do list can be quite overwhelming, especially when it comes to deciding when to do what in a not-so-organized way. Using a calendar provides a visual order and helps in setting realistic timelines. Once your to-do list has been assigned to specific days and times on your calendar, say sayonara to your to-do list (and don’t worry about having F.O.M.O [Fear Of Missing Out] for your to-do list because you won’t be missing out on anything!). My productivity has gone through the roof since, and my clients and friends testify to getting more accomplished without their lists.

So now I challenge you to do the same: throw away your to-do list and get ready for your productivity to take off!

I hope you found this helpful! As always, self-experimentation is the key to opening up new possibilities in your life. Give it a try and you might be pleasantly surprised.

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  1. Thank you for the suggestion! My initial response was like yours–WHAAA?? But now I see the rationale. My friend gave me a Best Self Journal which I used for 7 weeks. I took a break for NaBloPoMo, and your post here gives me a fresh perspective on how to finish the second 6 weeks of the book. I will try it!! Best wishes to you, fellow internal medicine mama doc! 😀

    1. I can relate. I had the same initial response about the same idea. It really works, and I’m glad you are going to give it a shot.

  2. I would like to receive your newsletter. Thanks for the idea about calendar and scheduling. Seems much more realistic.

    1. I’m glad you like it Martha. It makes it real easy to get stuff done. The best part is once it becomes a habit, you know and feel confident that anything on your calendar is as good as done. So good. Get the free PDF guide on home page to get on the mailing list.