Wondering How To Complete Your To-do List? Start Timing Your Tasks


How many times have you made a to-do list and psyched yourself up for a productive day, but by quitting time, you only completed the first few tasks?

Have you ever tried time blocking, and diligently mapped out your to-do list into clear sections of time, but then at 3:00, realized you’re still working on your 9:00 a.m. task?

Let me tell you; you’re not alone.

How to complete your to-do list now

In fact, a LinkedIn survey revealed a mere 11% of people complete their to-do lists each day. That means that 89% of us don’t get through our to-do lists on a regular basis.

89%!

If you fall into this second group of people (I sure do at times!), you’ll know this often feels discouraging.

In fact, if you’re anything like me, you might be asking yourself, “What else do I need to do to get this stuff accomplished? I’ve made my list, I’ve blocked my time, I’m practicing single-tasking. What gives?”

Are you ready for the answer?

How to Complete Your To-Do List Complete your tasks, stay focused, beat distractions, use time blocking, time your tasks, time your productivity, finish your to-do list, #todolist #success #productivity #productivitytips #businesswoman #bosslady

Your list isn’t realistic.

I know, this isn’t the magic answer you want to hear. But here’s the deal. If you take time to organize your day, you eliminate distractions, you focus specifically on the task at hand, and you still don’t get through your list, chances are, that list is too long.

If this sounds like you, then keep reading to learn the overlooked secret for how to complete your to-do list.

How To Complete Your To-do List

So what’s my secret for how to complete your to-do list? The answer might surprise you.

Start timing your tasks.

How to Complete Your Tasks List Complete your tasks, stay focused, beat distractions, use time blocking, time your tasks, time your productivity, finish your to-do list, #todolist #success #productivity #productivitytips #businesswoman #bosslady

You see, it is so easy to underestimate the time it takes to complete a project. In fact, I’ve been known to underestimate big projects by months – seriously! (I’m looking at you, book.)

Needless to say, when we don’t allow ourselves adequate time to complete our tasks, we simply don’t get them done, regardless of whether we put them in our time blocking chart or not.

If it takes you two hours to clean the house, and you try to squeeze it into a one hour block – surprise! – you’re going to be an hour behind schedule.

And if it takes you six hours to write a blog post, but you set aside two hours, then you’ve set yourself back another four hours.

No wonder we aren’t completing our to-do lists, huh?

Just because it’s scheduled for an hour, doesn’t mean it takes an hour.

Just because it's scheduled for an hour, doesn't mean it takes an hour. Start timing your tasks for maximum productivity. #productivity #timeblocking #success Click To Tweet

How to Complete Your To Do List Complete your tasks, stay focused, beat distractions, use time blocking, time your tasks, time your productivity, finish your to-do list, #todolist #success #productivity #productivitytips #businesswoman #bosslady

How to complete your to-do list: Time Your Tasks

So this week, I challenge you to time your tasks. Use an app on your phone, pull up an online stopwatch, go old-school with a clock, whatever. All you need to do is make note of when you begin and end each task throughout the week.

As an added bonus, pay attention to how long you stay focused on different projects. By doing so, you’ll have a better understanding of your pacing and when you need breaks throughout the day.

Once you’ve collected your data, make note of how long it took you to complete your everyday tasks throughout the week. Figure out the average time for each project  (amount of time each day, divided by the number of days), and then record that information in an easily accessible place. (I use my bullet journal.) Then, use that time chart as a reference to help you plan your to-do lists for the coming weeks.

It’s as simple as that! 


Do you struggle with how to complete your to-do list? Then be sure to download my free 11-page workbook, which guides you through a week of task-timing and also provides a week of time blocking templates to use (and re-use) as you plow through your newly revised to-do lists. Let’s do this! 🙌🙌🙌

How to Complete Your To-Do List Complete your tasks, stay focused, beat distractions, use time blocking, time your tasks, time your productivity, finish your to-do list, #todolist #success #productivity #productivitytips #businesswoman #bosslady

Question:

Do you struggle with how to complete your to-do list? Are you part of the 11% or the 89% of to-do list makers? What are your strategies for completing your to-do list? Have you ever timed your tasks? Let me know below!

32 thoughts on “Wondering How To Complete Your To-do List? Start Timing Your Tasks”

  1. I never finish my to do list! This is awesome and I will definitely have to try this! If i still can’t finish, your fault 🙂 haha just kidding!

  2. I have done much better when I block out time for specific activities on my to do list. If not I am totally over committing.

  3. This is definitely a really useful way to approach tasks. I find that blogging can lead to so many different things that take time. I mean, you could really just work endlessly.. so it’s good to have a stopping point.

    1. Yes! Exactly, Marysa. If we don’t create a “stopping point,” the work never ends!

  4. I make to-do lists for sure… or else nothing would be done around here but dont really time block. I KNOW I do say something will only take 20 minutes and 2 hours later… I am still trying to complete…

    1. Hey, Amber! Yes, it’s amazing how long things can take, isn’t it? When we time them out, however, at least we have a better (more realistic) idea of how long each item on our list will take 🙂

  5. This is such smart advice! I’m a list person and always have a major ongoing list of things to do and I rarely take into account how long it actually takes to do this. I recently did something similar in regards to timing how long it takes me and realized I have to be more realistic about how much I can actually get done!

    1. That’s great, Arielle! It’s so helpful to discover those things about ourselves 🙂

  6. GETYOURHOLIDAYON

    This is good! I love your stop watch idea. This will certainly increase productivity! Thanks for the suggestion. 🙂

  7. I was laughing at the part where you block off 2 hours to write a blog post that takes 6. That’s me every time. I’m amazed at people that can get them done so quickly!

    1. Right?! I don’t know how people are so quick. But now that I’ve timed myself, I officially know – I’m Not. Lol.

  8. This has always worked for me in practice, especially when I use my Google calendar. But I need to be better about actually doing it!

  9. journeyatsahm

    What a great idea! I always schedule a certain amount of time for something, but never really paid attention to how much time it ACTUALLY takes!

    1. Yeah, it really amazed me how long things actually took when I sat down to time them. Some much more, some much less.

  10. 21flavorsofsplendor

    I love time blocking! I need o really get back into being diligent about it. With all the end of the year activities my time is all over the place.

    1. I bet! This transition time from school to summer vacation is always a bit unpredictable.

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