Why Your To-Do List May be Sabotaging Your Success

Do you use a to-do list to get things done?  If so, you could be sabotaging your own success.

You see, in general, to-do lists are a great way to get what’s in your head out and onto paper. This is necessary to create space in your brain for creativity and strategic thinking.

However, beyond that, the to-do list isn’t a very effective action plan, and as such, doesn’t move you towards your goals easily and effectively.

Here’s why…


It’s shortsighted.  Let me start by asking you this.  When you create your to-do list (whether it’s daily or weekly), do you sit down and thoughtfully and strategically think about what you want to accomplish?   Do you take into account your vision, your goals (both short and long-term)?

Or, does this sound more familiar?  You sit down and quickly and anxiously begin to “mind-dump” everything you need to do, both personally and professionally that day, that week?

Because to-do lists are shortsighted, and don’t take into account your long term goals and achievements, your daily actions don’t move you forward towards your goals and dreams, but end up keeping you stuck.


To-do lists lack passion and energy.   Because your to-do list doesn’t take into account your vision and goals, it lacks passion and energy, and, as a result, you’re not connected to it in a meaningful way.  So you write your list and then put it down and forget about it. It gets lost in your purse, desk, car. Out of sight, out of mind.

Then, when you finally do look at it, you realize all you didn’t accomplish, and beat yourself for all that you didn’t get done.

This leads us to next reason a to-do list isn’t the most effective.


Your to-do list becomes the exact opposite of what you intended it to be; a source of frustration and anxiety.  As it turns out, your emotions make a big difference in how you get stuff done. Positive moods such as feeling encouraged and motivated promote problem solving and improved creativity and decision-making. A dead-end to-do list encourages anxiety and discourages creativity and long-term strategic thinking. Does that sound effective or efficient to you? Me either!

So, use a to-do list to get your every day chores done, to map out a complex project that you need to get out of your head and onto paper, but for the big things — your dreams, your goals, your highest ambitions try an alternative.


Rather than a to-do list, try implementing a Priority List.  The difference between a priority list and a standard to-do list is that it takes into account your highest priorities, your most ambitious goals, and your vision for your future. It’s also much shorter because you’re very selective about what goes on this list. It moves your forward. It’s much more far-sighted. And, again, to be successful you need to be diligent in looking at your list, and reevaluating it as necessary.


**Is my to-do list working for me OR against me? How so?

**Does my to-do list engage me and move me towards my goals and dreams?

**How does my to-do list support me in achieving my goals?

Have an amazing week and enjoy your learnings!


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