I have seen many entrepreneurs who un-controlling times check their to-do list not only in their average day but in one hour of their time. That’s not good for them?
Before one week, I had a meeting with an entrepreneur talking about some possible improvements in his business processes. But, at the time of the meeting that was about an hour, I saw how he was looking three times at his smartphone. After the third time, I ask him what he is doing? Is the time his problem, and if it is, we can finish our meeting and continue with normally scheduled tasks for today. The answer was shocking to me. He is checking his to-do app on a smartphone.
Why three times when we are in a meeting and talk about business processes and improvements? Simply, the answer is the bad habit. The part of his to-do list was also the meeting that we had. Simply there is no need to check what you need to do next if you have already scheduled and worked on some of the tasks from the list. When I think much more in-depth about the causes, they can be classified as:
- Too many jobs scheduled for today.
- Fear that something will be missed.
- Thinking more about what will be next instead of focusing on current things.
So, the question is, how many times will you need to check your to-do list in one working day? Here are the answers.
1. When You Create Your To-Do List
The first time you need to check your to-do list is when you start the day to create your list as a part of the planning process.
Always start your day with a strong planning process because, in the end, your whole day and productivity will depend on this planning process.
If you plan the day before you put yourself into the jungle of tasks for the day, you will be much better organized and will probably succeed in finishing everything you want to accomplish for the day. First, you will open your to-do list when you start scheduling your tasks for the upcoming workday as part of your daily planning process.
2. When You Check the Checkbox After Finishing Task
The second time is when you check the checkbox after finishing one task and looking for the next one. Probably you will need to check several times your to-do list when you work on the tasks listed on this list. This checking can vary according to the number of tasks that you usually have on your to-do lists.
For example, if you have three tasks for today, you will check your list when you finish the first task and start the second one. After this, you will check again when you complete the second task and start the third one. And the third time, you will check your to-do list when you check the checkbox after finishing the third and the last item from the list.
3. When You Need to Make Corrections
The third time is when you need to make possible corrections. This can sometimes be done after you finish all tasks from your lists or simply when you have interruptions in your daily routine, and you will need to make some changes.
For example, if you finish everything planned for today before the time you have allocated for your work, you can check your to-do list to find some possible tasks that you can do next that are part of your someday list. Another example can be when you are working until the middle of the day on the tasks from the list, but then you simply receive a phone call from a customer who wants an urgent meeting. If you can’t delay the meeting, you will need to put a new task on your list and reorganize the rest of your day.
4. When You Check What You Have Already Done at the End of the Day
The fourth time is when you want to check what you have already done at the end of the working day. Simply at the end of your workday, you will want to check if everything planned for today is already done or something that will need to be rescheduled for tomorrow. This is important for your productivity because it will enable you excellent ground for planning the next day.
5. How to Hack Through Your To-Do List
Excellent talk of David Allen in this video from Epipheo about how to hack through your to-do list and free up your mind to focus on what’s most important to you.