How to Actually Get Your To-Do List Done

If you’ve gotten good at organizing your tasks in a to-do list, but have trouble actually executing them, then you’re not alone. Zen Habits lists some common problems, and how to address them:

“I feel resistance when starting work on something.”

  • Tiny chunk. Tell yourself you only have to do 5 minutes of work on it; a small amount of work is less intimidating.
  • Just start. Once you get going, it’s much easier to keep going.
  • Reward yourself. Don’t let yourself do something fun until you do at least 10 minutes on the task.

“I start, but I get distracted and never finish.”

  • Single-task. Just do the one task before you.
  • Unplug. Turn off email, feeds, IM, Twitter, and phones while you’re working.
  • Clear your desk. Remove the distracting visual clutter.

“I often don’t feel like doing any work at all.”

  • Take a walk. A little walk can refresh your mind.
  • Exercise. You might feel more motivated when you’re done.
  • Find fun stuff to do. See if you can find something that’s fun but still moves you forward on a project.
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