Our to-do lists can be never-ending. Overwhelming.
Maybe you’ve experimented with different time management strategies or read productivity books to learn how to prioritize your list. However, something always comes up and priorities get pushed back, leaving goals unmet and to-do lists incomplete.
In fact, 41% of to-do list items are never completed.
The bottom line: If you have 40 items on your list marked as priorities, you might as well have none. While you’d be hard pressed to find an individual in the workforce today who doesn’t keep a to-do list, it’s the rare individual who also keeps a “to-don’t” list.
This is the one thing that most people are missing. What are you not going to get to? What priority are you saying “no” to today?
As Michael Porter said, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
There are endless ideas for what to do at work. For example, if you’re in sales, you can prospect for new business, attend networking events, speak at conferences, expand your territory, grow existing accounts, and so on. However, you can’t do it all. At least you can’t do it all well, right now.
In our latest Extreme Productivity Benchmark Report, we found that “The Extremely Productive” are 5.3 times more likely to prune their priority list down to the most essential than less productive people — what I call “The Rest.” In fact, only 6% of The Rest report that they whittle their priority list down to the smallest essential list — and they represent 86% of respondents.
That leaves a lot of people with long to-do lists — at least, too long to get everything done, done well, and done with all due haste.