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7 To-Do-List Mistakes to Avoid to Maximize Your Productivity


The to-do list is the simplest method to maximize productivity and get things done. It helps you to prioritize your tasks, which makes you more productive and less stressed. Most people have a habit of writing a to-do list. But then also only a few can accomplish their tasks, and others do not. Have you ever wondered why this happens?

What if you do not know how to write a proper to-do list? You will ruin your day by being disorganized. So, learn to utilize it properly.

Below is a list of common to-do list mistakes that you must avoid before creating it next time.

Seven most important to-do list mistakes to avoid to increase productivity

Seven most important to-do list mistakes to avoid to increase productivity

Making a Long to-do List

Do not include too many tasks on your to-do list. It may take you a few weeks to complete them. Writing such a big list is the first step towards failure. Write down tasks in decreasing order of priority and highlight the top three at the beginning only. Try to stick to those three tasks as there are only a few hours a day when you are productive.

The limiting factor here is our mental energy. You remain productive for only three to five hours each day. Also, try to write an estimated time next to the task that is needed to accomplish it. You can also make use of a time tracker.

Mixing to-do and Master List

Future tasks like enrolling in a course, writing an E-book, etc. cannot be a part of the to-do list. You should create a separate container list for those tasks. Create a focused daily to-do list.

For big projects, you can divide it into small chunks and then place those chunks in the form of achievable tasks on your list.

Create a master list comprising of all the someday tasks. It will grow and shrink and never get completed. So, it is better to prepare a daily task list that consists of tasks that need to be accomplished the next day and focus on that only.

Not Writing the List a Night Before

Most people will tell you writing a to-do list should be the first activity to do in the morning. But it is not the right way to create it. For example –you can miss your early morning meeting if you are busy writing the list.

So, what is the solution?

Create your list at the end of the day before going to sleep. It will calm down your mind as you have your list ready for the next day.

Sticking to the Same to-do List

You get stuck with one to-do list until you accomplish all the tasks. Every day is different. What you planned for today will not work for tomorrow. And what you will be doing tomorrow might not work the day after.

So, create a new list every day. If you are working on a project, then you can create a weekly to-do list, but try to keep it fresh as much as possible.

Not Connecting to-do List and Calendar

Plan your actions. Keep your calendar along with your list. Mark the time for sleep, family vacations, weekend outings, etc.

Why is this important?

If you do not do this way, then you will not be able to perform tasks listed on your to-do list. Hence, connect both of them. It will give you a clear view of what to do and when to do.

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Giving Each Item Same Priority

Make your to-do list a priority list. Include only those items that move you closer to your goal and exclude the rest. Non-priority tasks contribute to distractions. You can outsource them to someone else or do them in your free time.

Not Creating a Specific to-do List

Do not write just about anything on the list. Write only specific tasks that need to be done. Else you will get distracted and face difficulty in proceeding further.

Being specific eliminates the stress to reconnect items every time you see your list.

Take some time to create a to-do list and write a complete thought that the task represents rather than using a word or two to describe it.


In the above article, I have covered the main points on how to write your perfect to-do list to maximize your productivity. It is also possible that you are not able to create a good to-do list at once. But you can start implementing each method one by one.

If you also have the habit of writing down your to-do list, then do share the techniques you follow in the comments below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Preeti Shah


Preeti Shah (author) from Delhi on November 08, 2020:

Yes mam you are right. Most of the people ignore the importance of to-do list and waste their time.

Risha Khan from Bhilai, Chhattisgarh on November 08, 2020:

This is an amazing article about creating to-do lists, Preeti. We should list out 2-3 daily tasks so that we can finish them in an easy way. Too many tasks will ultimately lead to stress. Prioritizing tasks is also important.

Preeti Shah (author) from Delhi on November 07, 2020:

Nice to know that your wife supports you so much. Your views always help me to improve. Thanks for your valuable review.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 07, 2020:

Well this is quite interesting. My lists are made by "secretaries". I of course add small matters thereto but generally I just give info that goes into a list and calendar for me. So far so good.

(with the pandemic issues -- my secretary is now my wife and she is just the best at it)

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