TMN: Why You Should Never Finish Your To-do List

Bryan Collins writes a great blog on Time Management Ninja. What are your thoughts about your to-do list never reach zero?

Why You Should Never Finish Your To-do List

Your To-Do List Should Always Have Something on It

Do you spend your entire workday chasing your to-do list?

It can be a constant battle between adding tasks and crossing them off as you complete them.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

In fact, you shouldn’t worry about finishing your list.

While Inbox Zero may be an ideal to strive for your email, you shouldn’t ever get your to-do list to empty.

The Never Ending To-do List

You should never actually finish your to-do list.

This idea stresses some people out. Especially those that want to get everything done. (Hint: You can’t do it all… no one can.)

However, I should point out that this concept is not about endless work. It is not about overload.

It’s about the fact that you should always be looking ahead to your next actions. Your to-do list is an ever evolving tool to keep your life in order.

After all, there is always something else to do.

“If your to-do list is finished, you’ve given up or are dead.”

Having things on your to-do list should be viewed as a positive rather than a negative. It is a sign that your list is doing it’s job. And so are you.

As well, your list should be productivity tools that is constantly collecting the items you need to do, while you are busy doing other things.

Here are a few reasons “Why You Should Never Finish Your To-do List:”

  • You Should Always Be Adding – You should always be capturing to-dos to your list. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small, important or trivial. Get them on your list, so that your list can remind you. If you decide later that you don’t need to do them, it’s easy to cross them off.
  • Focus on the Task at Hand – Keeping things on your list, helps prevent multi-tasking. Instead of trying to do too many things at once, let your list “hold” your next tasks so that you can concentrate on your current task.
  • Your List Lets You Relax – Getting tasks out of your head and onto your list lets you relax. If you don’t need to complete the task at that moment, writing it down lets you concentrate on something else without worrying about forgetting that task for later.

There is Always Something to Do

You should never finish your to-do list, and that should be a good thing.

Always be adding to your list.

It might be work-related. It could be something important or required. Maybe it is just something fun.

There is always something else to do.

And if there isn’t… well, what then?


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