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Astrid Paramita


How to shrink an ever-growing to-do list.

I am also very horrible with to-do lists that haunted me forever, but here I am trying to take a stab at what is already working for me, what doesn't work for me (but might work for someone else), and ideas of what I'd like to try out.


    1. Works: Daily to-dos on a post-it.

    Somehow, with this method, I will get most of the items done. When it's not done, I will do it on the next day. Also, it's very easy to realize if it's just something that I kept neglecting... the old post-it is then there on my desk. Time to let the task go, or really do it now.

    2. Doesn't work: To-do list on a phone app.

    I am probably terrible at organizing them, because this one has something from months/years ago that I simply just forgot (luckily not something crucial like taxes, but some follow-up email I actually want and need to do).

    My issue is that I don't see it often enough. And there's this tendency that if I don't really want to do something, it's too easy to avoid seeing it altogether.

    3. Works: Deadlines with a proper punishment.

    If there's a fine for missing it, I will never miss it. With courses that I need to pay monthly, it's more motivation to finish it before the month ends. Cleaning the house before a friend is visiting, also works.

    4. Doesn't work: Just deadlines on the calendar.

    Although still better than no deadlines at all, it's too easy to push it to later.

    5. Working on it: Divide the to-do into categories.

    I'm an entrepreneur who always has too many things on my plate and (sometimes) no boss. So I'm dividing my to-do lists into categories like home, self, work1, work2, etc. A tool like trello works best so far.

    6. Working on it: Implement the 5/25 rule for productivity.

    Aka the Warren Buffet rule. I need to implement this in my life. Perhaps for me it should even be 3/25.

    7. Ideas: Time estimates on the to-dos.

    Time needed to finish a to-do isn't the same. "Make an appointment with the dentist" takes 5 minutes tops, while "Write an essay" could take the whole days or even a few days. The items on the list should be based on time / complexity. Need to break down the tasks better for to-do lists.

    8. Not for me: Daily Planner

    Planning my day by the minutes when it's unnecessary, just suffocates me. I like to have rough schedules and goals of what I need to do for the day. But I also want to be rewarded when I can finish them well before the day ends.

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