To-Do List Formula

To-do list formula book review

Book Highlights

Title: To-Do List Formula

Author: Damon Zahariades

Genre: Time Management

Pages: 150Pages

Difficulty Level:  Easy

To-Do List Formula: Book Review

If you have tried to create the perfect to-do list and have not succeeded, I have an excellent book for you.
This book by Damon Zahariades focuses on how to build a system that works according to your preferences, and I assure you, you will be more than happy you picked this book.
Even though I have my system of creating a to-do list, I wanted to explore other ideas and how to make it better. I am happy to report that I did find some ideas that I will be putting to use.
This book has all the information for creating a to-do list from scratch. Additionally, the ideas are practical and actionable.
One thing that needs to be appreciated about the author is he does not impose his system on you.
From the start of the book, you are reminded that all ideas are mere suggestions, pick what benefits you and keep the rest aside.
Moreover, at the end of the book, you will find some foreseeable problems of the future, which the author has made the best efforts to provide the solution off.
It shows you how much the author wants you to succeed and is trying his best to give you as much information as possible from his experience.

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If you already have some experience making a to-do list and applying it, some sections of this book might feel boring and repetitive as well. Although, the author has used too many pages for theories, but those just starting with this habit can find those texts beneficial.
If, at some point, you feel that the theory is not adding value to your knowledge, feel free to skip it. You can always come back later when having doubts.
Coming back to the new thing I learned in this book is about labeling the tasks according to the location.

Whether it works for me or not, I am not sure, but the idea seems promising.
The author suggests if you have a list of tasks in your master list that you need to do, but you are not going to be present where the objectives cannot be done, you can assign it to a later day and pick some other tasks for your current day.

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T0-Do List Formula: Book Summary

  1. The main purpose of your to-do list is to help you organize your tasks and projects, and highlight the important stuff. Moreover, your task list isn’t a tool for getting everything done. Rather, it’s a tool that will ensure you get the right things done.
  2. Without a proper strategy to manage tasks, our days spiral out of control. Consequently, our stress levels skyrocket as high-priority items linger past their deadlines. Having a well maintained system of to-do list allows you to control your day and do things at your own command.
  3. 41% of to-do items are never completed. 50% of completed to-do items are done within a day. 18% of completed to-do items are done within an hour. 10% of completed to-do items are done within a minute. Therefore, make your list carefully.

Who Should Read It?

People who find their schedules too much crammed should give this book a thorough reading. The system laid out in the book are really of practical nature and if you can put in the hours then you will surely get the benefit off of it.

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To-Do List Formula: Top Quotes

  • A to-do list without deadlines is a wish list. Nothing more. Without deadlines, we lean toward inaction.
  • It’s about focusing on high-value activities that help you to accomplish your goals.
  • Deadlines are important because they prompt us to take action.

To-Do List Formula Notes

1) Why you are not finishing your To-do items:

  • Misunderstanding The Objective of a to-do list: The main purpose of any to-do list is to assemble a list of priority tasks that must be taken care of in that particular day which helps reaching your goals.
  • Not assigning deadlines: Deadlines are important because they prompt us to take action. They also help us to allocate our limited time among competing projects and tasks. Moreover, assuming our deadlines are realistic and take into account the comparative priorities of our to-do items, they increase our productivity. We not only get more things done, but we get more of the right things done.
  • Not defining the tasks: The problem with broadly-defined tasks is that they’re too large in scope. Many lack a clear starting point and ending point. As a result, there’s no way to properly measure success.

For example, consider an author who intends to write a new novel. The to-do item “start writing novel” is too vague. There are too many tasks involved that are left unspecified. “Write the first draft of Chapter 1” would be more effective. Its specificity encourages action and makes it easy to know when the item has been completed. Consider a college student who needs to prepare for an exam. The to-do item “study for exam” is imprecise. “Complete practice problems on pages 171 - 175” would be more effective as it gives the student a specific task to address.

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  • Doing task unrelated to your goals: The main idea behind a to-do list is to get those things done, which are on high priority and which meets your needs and objectives of the future. Therefore, spend time doing the tasks that matters.

2) Creating The Perfect To-do List

  • Isolate Current Tasks from Future Tasks: To begin with, choose how to divide up your time and focus each day by using a “current task” list. The things that need to get done before the day is over will be on this list. Second, make a “future task” list to keep track of anything that will eventually require your attention. This list won’t be utilized by you while at work. Instead, you’ll use it to make your to-do list for the next day at the conclusion of the day.
  • Define Tasks by desired Outcomes: The simplest way to get through your daily to-do list is to assign a “why” to each item found on it. Know the reason the item is on your list. Determine why you need to get it done. Therefore, write the reason down next to the task.
  • Break Projects Down To Individual Tasks: Make sure your to-do lists are limited to actionable tasks, not projects. If an item requires more than one action, it is a project that can – and should – be broken down. Additonally, by breaking them down, you’ll enjoy better focus and get important work done more quickly.
  • Assign A Deadline: Deadlines increase our efficiency and productivity, spurring us to get important stuff done. For this reason, every task on your master to-do list should have a deadline associated with it.
  • Limit the number of Current Tasks to Seven: This is the author’s recommendation of keeping the list limited so as to not get buried under the pile of tasks.

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  • Organize Tasks by Project, Type or Location: This idea can be quite beneficial if you are working on multiple projects. Maintaining a list for separate project can help you understand the flow of the project. When you have multiple tasks from different projects, choose the one that you want to do and move it to the current task list which you will be doing today.
  • Prune Your List of Unnecessary Task: Maintaining a clear master to-do list is one of the most crucial things you can do. Regularly remove tasks from the list that are no longer necessary or in line with your objectives. Otherwise, as you keep adding new things to it every day, it may easily spiral out of control. Consequently, you may manage your list better by pruning it. It will be simpler for you to recognise significant initiatives and the activities that go along with them. It is easier to manage your tasks when you cross out or remove items from your list that are irrelevant.
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  • Estimate The Amount Of Time Each Task Will Take To Complete: You should know how long each to-do item on your master list will take you to finish. This information allows you to choose tasks for your daily list based on how much time you’ll have available to work on them. If you know each task’s estimated completion time, you can create realistic to-do lists. You can avoid saddling yourself with tasks that need to be carried over to the next day.
  • Lead Each Task With An Active Verb: Sometimes, all you need is the right word to spur you to action. Verbs have that power. Put them in front of your to-do items and you’ll be more inclined to get the items done. When you phrase a task with a verb, the task comes alive. It goes from being a mere line item on your to-do list to being an actionable assignment.

Following are “tasks” (technically, they’re little more than notes) that lack verbs: Laundry Sandra’s birthday cake Accounts receivable report Car tires Breakfast with parents. We can fix that by adding verbs to them: Start a load of laundry Buy a cake for Sandra’s birthday Finish the accounts receivable report Check the pressure in my car’s tires Call parents to plan breakfast date Notice how the verbs (start, buy, finish, check, and call) tell us exactly what to do.

  • Note Which Tasks Require Input From Others: Some of the tasks on your daily to-do list will require input from other people. For example, you might be working on a team-based project and need certain team members to complete specific tasks before you can address the ones for which you’re responsible.

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