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Why You Should Have a 'To-Don't' List Along With a 'To-Do' List

Why You Should Have a 'To-Don't' List Along With a 'To-Do' List

What's the difference between a smart worker and a hard worker? A hard worker keeps a to-do list and a smart worker keeps a to-don't list along with a to-do list.

Keeping a to-don't list is a productivity hack often ignored and misinterpreted. A to-don't list is only a list of tasks which are not of high priority at this time. These should be tasks you can forego doing, at least for the immediate future. And, it also includes unneccessary tasks that can be easily outsourced.

A never-ending to-do list can be annoying. Imagine putting a tick mark against one, and adding another one. A long to-do list can sometimes add to your stress and lower your productivity, thereby stopping you from giving your best to none of the tasks. So, instead of that, have few tasks on your to-do list and transfer rest to your to-don't list.

This basically works on the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, which says that 80 percent of your success comes from 20 percent of your actions. When you make a to-do list, add just 20 per cent of the tasks and focus mindfully on them. The to-don't list will take care of the other 80 percent of your actions.

In the process of getting things done, sometimes you let 'to-do' list control you, rather than you controlling the list. However, having a small to-do list will give you a sense of accomplishment. As per Zeigarnik effect, unfinished tasks lead to uncontrolled thoughts. That is the reason you keep worrying and feel restless. When you have just the to-do list, you will only be bothered about whatever you haven't accomplished. There will something consistently unfinished.

(Also read: Swap Your To-Do List For A "Break List" To Get More Done )

(Image Credit: Thinkstock)

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