5 reasons to-do list not done

There’s always so much going on in the online world that sometimes it’s really hard to keep your focus on what you know you need to be doing, and being consistent at getting it done. At least, that’s always been my experience.

I don’t know about you, but I start every day with a to-do list. The sad thing about that is that on a lot of days, there’s not much that gets done. Other things crop up, I go down rabbit holes in a completely different direction, or sometimes I’m just plain old undproductive with a capital UN.

What about you? Did you make a to-do list for the day? Are you following it, or are you off in another direction?

If you are, don’t feel too bad. There’s a statistic floating around out there that says approximately 41% of items on most people’s to-do lists never get done. Part of the reason for that is because we don’t always make the right kind of to-do lists.

Here are five reasons your to-do list doesn’t always get done:

Do any of these apply to you?

Reason #1 – There’s too many things on your list

To-do lists should never be pages long or used for the long term. Instead, they should focus on daily tasks within a certain period of time you plan to get to work. Meaning you should have multiple to-do lists, not one overwhelming one that will surely get you lost.

Reason #2 – There are no deadlines on your list

You must set hard deadlines and have the discipline to follow through. A to-do list without them only gives you the permission to take your time or not do it at all. Understand how long it really takes to do each activity, including prep, and clean up – and never assume you can do double the amount of work you can do overnight.

Reason #3 – There’s no room for anything unexpected

No ones’ schedule is perfect, so don’t plan it that way. Account for flexibility and always include an extra fifteen minutes each day for the unexpected. As a solopreneur you wear a lot of hats, and sometimes things come up that have to be dealt with in the moment.

Reason #4 – You’re thinking too long-term

Having long-term goals is NOT a problem. I just want to be really clear on that. But, if you are giving yourself too much time to complete tasks or are creating to-do lists for more than one day then your to-do list is not going to be effective. It should guide and maintain your 90-day action plan, not replace it. Be sure the lists are to the point and a direct path for achieving your primary objective for that day or even a 90-minute period.

Reason #5 – Your to-do list lacks clarity

Clarity is crucial to achieving your goals – both long and short term. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you want, you can’t be sure you will have the right plan either. A lack of clarity leads to unorganized plans, ideas, and actions. Learn to understand what you need and want and prioritize to get things done in a timely and orderly fashion.

I’m pretty much guilty of all of these bad to-do list habits. That being said, I’d be lost without my list to at least start the day. To-do lists are a great tool for keeping you on task and pointed toward your goals, as long as you replace these bad habits with better ones that keep you focused and on task.

*Note: This post includes affiliate links, for which I will receive a small commission should you make a purchase.

About the Author

Ruth is self-styled creative soulpreneur who loves that she gets to play with words and pictures for a living. She started her first email newsletter in 1997 and has never looked back. Between creating printables and courses, she publishes a daily newsletter, loves to golf and walk on the beach and is teaching herself how to do hand-lettering and doodle art.

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