10 Reasons You Aren’t Doing Your Todo List

You Aren't Doing Your Todo ListThe number one productivity tool you need is a todo list.

If you have only one productivity tool… this is it.

It is more important than your calendar, notes, or address book. (The other three essential time management tools.)

Why You Aren’t Doing Your Todo List

Your todo list should be the number one productivity tool in your productivity toolkit.

And while many people have a list, many don’t do their list In fact, they are good at making lists, but not good at doing their lists.

Sound familiar?

‘Making a todo list isn’t enough, you have to actually do it.’

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So, what’s stopping you from doing the tasks on your list?

Writing down your todos is a good first step. However, you also have to maintain your list and then actually work your list.

Here are 10 Reasons You Aren’t Doing Your Todo List:

  1. You Don’t Have One – You have to have a todo list. Not a Post-It note, or a simple tear-off pad of paper. You need to have an official todo list. It doesn’t matter if you keep it on paper or electronically, but it needs to be a real list, not some random notes that you scribbled down anywhere.
  2. You Have More Than One – Almost as bad as not having a list, is having too many. One list and one list only. Otherwise, your todos will be scattered across multiple places, papers, and devices. You can’t even hope to see all of your todos with multiple lists.
  3. Not With You – Your list must be with you at all times. (Yes, if it is a physical list, you must carry it on your person.) You need your list to be at the ready when you need to check it, or to add a todo that arises.
  4. You Don’t Check It – It amazes me when individuals have a list, add things to the list, carry their list, and then… they don’t look at it. Later, they are confused when they forgot some of their important tasks that were right there on their list. Always check your list before moving on to your next task or meeting.
  5. It’s a Mess – You have to keep your list organized and clear. If it is overwhelming, you won’t be able to tell what’s what on it. Groom your list regularly to keep it in order and to remove tasks that are no longer relevant.
  6. It’s Not in Order – Your todo list needs to be prioritized. You must put it in order of importance. This can be harder to do with a paper list. (Priority numbers or highlighters work well.) With an electronic list, you can simply reorder the items in which they should be completed.
  7. Non-Todos on Your List – Your todo list is not for notes. Or reminders. Or project names. It is for action items. Make sure the things on your list are actionable. Otherwise, you will stare at your list and wonder, “What should I be doing?”
  8. It’s Too Complicated – This one applies mainly to app-based todo lists. If your todo app requires 16 clicks to add a simple todo, then it is too complex. You won’t use it regularly because it requires too much effort.
  9. Not a Tool You Like – Always choose tools you’ll use. In other words, pick a todo list that you like and enjoy to use. If that is paper, then use paper. If it is your smartphone then go with that. You are more apt to use and stick with a productivity tool that you like.
  10. It’s Not Habit – Your todo list should be part of your life, not an afterthought. Once your list becomes part of your habits, then you will check it regularly, and you add things to it without even thinking.

Just Do Your List

Making a list doesn’t cut it. You have to do your list.

It doesn’t matter if it is paper or app, as long as you use it.

Your todo list is the most important time management tool you have, and it must be part of your habits in order to be useful.

Carry it, use it, and of course, do your list every single day.

Question: How do you ensure that you are doing your todo list? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

38 thoughts on “10 Reasons You Aren’t Doing Your Todo List

  1. Indeed, I failed in completing my lists before, because “Oh, I am not in the mood for that right now” aaaand it all goes down.

    1. My way of dealing with this is using ‘contexts’. So some tasks I can only do at home, some only when I’m with my wife, etc. I have a context “low energy” which tags tasks that I will do even when feeling unmotivated.

      1. Wayne, love the “todos by context.”
        (Think I wrote somewhere about “high energy and low energy tasks.”)

        Would be nice to see todo apps that let you sort by different contexts. What do you use for your todo list?

      2. I am not Wayne, but I use contexts also.
        I am using an app called Toodledo, which allows identification of tasks by context. Love it!

      3. I use The Secret Weapon system in Evernote since may 2015. I find this useful but no so speedy. Add an item is rapid but having a todo inside a system that contains all my life is not perfect. I’m now using by three month an app called Swipes. It’s simple, rapid and have the context (named workplace). It has also an integration with Evernote. So I can map all my item in EN, tag with priority level (1-now, 2-next etc etc,) then choose the very important, tag with swipes tag. This make the nite appear in Swipes app. Obviously I also add note in Swipes direcly.

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