Here's why your to-do list is failing you

Do you have a to-do list for today? If so, have you made any progress since then, or have you forgotten all about it? Don't worry. Nearly 41% of items on most people's to-do lists never get done, so you are not alone.

The vast majority of people do not create effective to-do lists either. Understanding the common reasons why they fail is the first step to fixing it and having it work for you rather than against you.

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Here are five common reasons to-do lists fail and how you can fix them:

1. There are Way Too Many Things To Do

We should never use to-do lists that are too long or for long-term planning. Instead, they should concentrate on daily tasks within a certain period of time you plan to work. You should make several to-do lists, not one overwhelming one that will bog you down.

2. Deadlines that are Unclear

To succeed in completing tasks, you must set hard deadlines and have the discipline to follow through. To-do lists without them give you permission to take your time or not do them at all. To give yourself a realistic deadline, you must understand how long it takes to do each activity, including prep and cleanup; and don't assume you can do twice as much as you can in one day.

3. Unaccounted for Unexpected Events

You can't plan a perfect schedule, so don't try. No one can. Always add an extra fifteen minutes per day for flexibility – for those occasional unexpected events. It is possible, for example, to spend a little longer in traffic or an unexpected meeting than you anticipated. Don't schedule important meetings or errands back-to-back in the hope that everything will go according to plan.

4. Designed with the Long-term in Mind

Basically, you are giving yourself too much time to complete tasks or you are creating to-do lists for more than one day. A 90-day action plan will be guided and maintained by your to-do lists. However, they are not meant to replace them. Make sure the list is direct and focused on achieving your primary objective for that day or even for a 90-minute period.

5. Main Objectives Unorganized and Unclear

The ability to pinpoint and break down what you want to accomplish is crucial to achieving them. You can't be sure you've got the right plan if you don't know what you want. Without clear objectives, plans, ideas, and actions become unorganized. To get things done in a timely and orderly fashion, learn to understand what you need and want.

Don't let your to-do lists fail you any longer. When used correctly, to-do lists can be a great tool to ensure that you are on the right path to long-term success.

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