Why I stopped using todo-lists
In search of better working techniques, I recently came across a video that dealt with this topic. Basically, many points were mentioned there, which were also mentioned everywhere else. However, I noticed an important point that I have not heard anywhere else before.
Too much to do
According to one statistic, 40% of the things on a to-do list don't get done. I found this number quite scary, because almost half of the things I probably want to get done, I will not get done on average. What could possibly be the reason for this?
I now know that I need an average of 30-60 minutes for a task on my to-do list. I don't even include smaller tasks. I also know that I put about 6 tasks on my to-do list on average. So I need at least 3 hours for all tasks on the list!
After work, I have about 1 hour of effectively productive time in which to complete the tasks. So with my time, I can't get the tasks I write down for myself done at all in that time. This creates frustration because I don't get all the things done that I set out to do.
In the video, the better alternative was mentioned: the calendar.
With a calendar, tasks are approached in a completely different way. First of all, my mind is more on the task, because I have set myself an extra deadline for the task. However, not only an appointment but also a fixed time in which I do this task and only this task.
The big advantage compared to to-do lists is that you not only take the time for this task but also tasks are completed. I have to-do lists that contain tasks that just keep slipping back because either a seemingly more important task comes up or someone wants something from me "very briefly".
Now, when someone wants something from me or a new task appears, I schedule it for a date and estimate how long it will take me. Should I not be able to finish it, then it will be rescheduled and tackled at the next deadline.
My experience so far
I have been using the system for several months now and can say that it helps me to work through my tasks effectively and efficiently and to feel a process. A completed task motivates you to continue and you are not flooded by the mass of tasks, but keeps control over your time.