Screw Your To-Do List

Richard ArthurAdvice

This is part of a series of posts by Richard Arthur, who is a close friend and longtime reader who helps out with The Society intensives. I’ve been busy on a deadline for two new books, so he offered to step in and keep the blog updated with some of my thoughts and ideas. Richard basically lives with Ingrid and I, so he knows me well. Expect to see weekly posts here, and let me know your thoughts and feedback in the Comments section below.

Let’s be real for a second…

You have a to-do list..

And it’s always left undone.

Now, you feel overwhelmed, busy, unproductive, and even depressed…

Well that’s all about to change.

This post is a big SCREW YOU to your to do list..

Recently, I was reading a book called Willpower: Rediscovering The Greatest Human Strength

A study in the book showed that a person has at least 150 different tasks at a time, and some to-do lists for a single Monday could take more than a week to finish.

Sounds like a recipe for failure.

Filling up our to-do lists creates a constant turmoil in our heads, and has a negative effect on actually getting those tasks done.

In Willpower, the authors discovered that “worry” comes from have too many conflicting goals.

This causes our productivity as well as our physical and mental health to suffer.

Can you relate? I definitely can.

Here are a few more reasons why it’s time to ditch the to-do list:

#1 They don’t account for how long something will take.

Let’s be real. You’re really bad at gauging the time required to complete the task. As a result, we all put more things on our list than we are capable of doing.

#2 They Lack Clarity

There is no difference between urgent and important. There are no time boundaries. And we tend to “do” the urgent tasks, and put off the most important ones.

#3 They Lack Schedule

Unless you’re a badass, your to-do list is probably just a set of randomly gathered tasks in no order.

When you start your workday, you usually pick the ones based on your current mood.

And when there is no schedule, you’re more than likely to start switching between a few…

This also leads to procrastination…

Overall, the To Do List gives you the illusion of progress and accomplishment.

But I believe that:

To Do Lists make you prioritize the wrong stuff and make you less organized in the long run.

But planning and productivity are such an important ingredient in success…

What to do?

Schedule Everything Rigorously.

Be a professional. Write down your tasks, and dedicate time to them.

And stick to that schedule.

Give Yourself Tight Deadlines

The longer your deadline, the more likely you are to waste time and procrastinate.


Schedule your most important tasks in the morning.

Start your day by doing your most important thing, and use that momentum to carry you through the rest of your day.

Be Real With Yourself

Don’t overwork yourself.

Don’t schedule more tasks than you can handle.

Hard work has nothing to do with productivity.

Your journey to success begins with you prioritizing, and executing what’s important for you.

The worst thing you can do is burn yourself out.

Your health and energy will take you everywhere you want to go.

While Neil is writing books, Richard Arthur is busy sharing his latest knowledge with readers. If you want to be on the inside, and learn the latest tools and techniques we are using here to improve our lives and the lives of others, then you’ll want to be part of this limited email distribution list. Click here while we’re still doing this.