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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
[bctt tweet=”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” username=”BusyBeingPaula”]
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! 🙌🙌🙌
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!