The problem with your ToDo list

May 17, 2021 • ☕️ 2 min read

Image from instagram

I’ll be the first to confess, I was addicted to todo apps. Trying out any new app that comes to market and getting fed up with some feature and even finally ending up creating my own todo app.

Though the experience of creating and managing my todo lists was better for some and worse in others, the result never changed. I never managed to get my work done, none of those apps actually stuck with me long enough to be my partner in crime in battling this productivity battle.

The first few days

The first few days, or the honeymoon period as you may call it, feels like a match made in the heavens. I feel like finally, I’m going to get my life in order. This app, this very app is going to be your boon and carry me to the lush green productivity gardens.

Yes the honeymoon period is productive but that’s just maybe because I was so obsessed with the current fad that I was using the app with the frequency one might open their instagrams to get their daily meme diet.

Why this happened is simple to explain, I was suffering with Shiny New Toy syndrome. As soon as I see a new app, I just have to have it and it’s aura lasts as long as there isn’t another new shiny app on the horizon.

The Problem

Something very fundamental was wrong, and that was the tasks on my lists were just that - tasks. And the problem with that is they does’t compel you to actually work on your them, they’re just there, mere reference points.

If you want to actually work on your todos and clear your lists everyday, you need an action plan. Nothing fancy, you just need to make your todos actionable.

Or more simply put, you need to add a time and a place where you’ll work on your tasks. A when and a where.

Simple formula:

Action plan= Todos + Context
Context = Time + Place

Entire game is about removing resistance

Without the context part, you don’t actually have a todo list. You have a wish list. A list of tasks you’ll like to do someday. Instead what you need is to schedule them in your day so that it has its own time and a place.

You don’t lack motivation, you lack clarity. - Atomic Habits

You don’t have to make the task easy, you just need to make your task easy to start.

If you want to study for a test but you can see your gaming console, your Netflix bookmark in your browser and your phone lying around, it all becomes a little more difficult to actually start. And these tiny puddles in your way might not seem much but they add up, and together they’ll pull you out of your thoughts of any work of measure you’d like to do.


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“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” - Murakami