Why Your To-Do List Sucks

When I get really excited about learning something new, it’s easy to get started. I feel like there’s never enough time in the day to work on improving my new skill or learning more about something I’ve just developed an interest in. The hard part is plugging along when the motivation is gone.

Whether you are trying to create a routine such as meditating or writing every day, or trying to be sure that you stick with an old one, the worst thing you can tell yourself is, “I’ll do it when I have time.” That’s essentially what a to-do list indicates. When I use this line, it turns out I never have time. I need to make time.

If you’re having trouble sticking to something, try putting the practice in your calendar instead of on your to-do list. When I first started going to the gym on a regular basis, I set aside time every week to plan out my calendar. I looked at when I had to be at work, when I was commuting, and when I had social engagements, and I blocked out time to go to the gym several times a week. That way I never had to “make time” for fitness. It was already scheduled.

It’s helpful to stick to a similar schedule on a week-to-week basis. Even if you have hectic or unpredictable weeks, having a set time for tasks, and most importantly, a deadline, will help you turn a chore into a ritual.