Why we fail to complete our ‘To-Do-List’

Published On: July 19, 2016 10:36 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 18: Human beings are compulsive list makers. We create and consume lists in our day to day life. Be it our shopping list, or be it the ‘Top 20 songs to make you feel good’ list that we’ve loaded on YouTube. They have certainly become ubiquitous to our lifestyle.

Then comes the ‘To-Do-List’ which is an interesting tool that we consider will make us productive. Many find these lists as saviors that help them remember things more easily like that important appointment with a client or the day when your internet expires.

The job of the ‘To-Do-List’, thus, is to make life simple by helping us remember things and organizing our life and work. But sometimes the things that look good on paper or on our ‘To-Do’ app may not turn out as planned. As we put the entry for the tasks on our daily ‘To-Do-List’, we may be determined to meet our objectives, but there are bigger challenges that distract us too easily and get us off-track from our agenda.

So to celebrate the human norm of list-making, here’s a list of things that are restricting you from completing your ‘To-Do-List’ tasks. 

Failing to prioritize
You might have noticed that there are so many things in your list to do. The lists might be piled up with mediocre tasks that may interfere with the more important tasks. Entrepreneur and management guru Cody McLain says, “In order to spend your time or money on one thing, you give up the opportunity to spend it on something else.” If you have cluttered your lists with tasks that are just there because you haven’t properly prioritized, you will waste time doing less significant things. Make sure you include only those things in your ‘To-Do-List’ that will give you maximum satisfaction when you complete them. 

Trying to achieve vague or ambitious tasks
Often times, you are so ambitious that you will put something like “Exercise for three hours” in your list. You may be determined initially but keeping up with an ambitious task can hamper rest of your work schedule. This is also the same when you note down vague tasks like “learn guitar”. When you are just hanging around looking for the right time to learn guitar, you will notice that so much time has passed. If you make a specific task entry like “learn the basic chord progression”, you have narrowed down the task and can now easily work on it instead of wondering where to start. Understand that you have limits and concentrate on specific areas and doable tasks.          

Though we have made a clear cut ‘To-Do-List’, we face so many conflicting pressures daily that makes it hard for us to stick to our plan. For instance, today is your day off from work and you have finally decided to weed out your front garden, but you get a call from your friend for an instant get together. The pleasure you get from hanging out from your friend is far pleasing than the boring gardening stuff. As you put off your planned work for something that’s just come up you fail to complete your tasks.      

Need for Perfection
Sometimes, we start out a certain task but pressed by the burden to complete it with perfection, we often look down on ourselves and think we are not good at the job. The need for perfection is a direct result of our vulnerability to make a good self image in front of others and the fear that others would judge us. In such case, you need to acknowledge that you have your limitations. If a task is fulfilling and satisfying to your needs then “what others would think” mentality shouldn’t bother you. Carry on your tasks in your list only keeping your goals in mind.  

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