David Allen, the energetic-screwball-genius behind “Getting Things Done” has one of the simplest approaches to accomplishing goals that’s so simple, it borders on stupid.
Imagine this, complex tasks, can be broken down into simple tasks.
What does that mean? Well, let’s say I want to learn how to speak French. If I were to put “Learn French” on my To-do list. It would never happen. In the middle of my hectic day I would look at that item and go… “yeah right!” and skip it.
But, if I’m really serious about wanting to learn French I should take the time to deconstruct the final goal into simple tasks. That processing is what allows me to fill my to-do list with doable, manageable, understandable tasks that ultimately lead me to my final goal.
Only simplified tasks should make it onto your To-do list if you expect your list to be of any use to you. To-do items need a specific action, such as “read and learn 10 new vocab words from www.learnfrench.com”. Then, when you look at your to-do list, you don’t have to process how you’re going to go about learning French. You’ll just perform the pre-planned actions necessary to reach your goal.
Tasks, should be just that. Simple tasks, “Learn French” is not a task it’s a goal. Goals have their place, but the To-do list is not it. If you make the mistake of putting goals on your to-do list odds are that you feel like an unproductive loser when months pass and you can’t check them off.
For your own sanity, sense of accomplishment, and happiness keep your task list stupidly simple. What do you do to make your to-do list more productive?