Struggling with To-Do Lists and Staying Productive?

A lot of us struggle with staying productive. Especially so in these times of lockdown and uncertainties. And also when you are focusing on larger goals that don’t really offer much daily satisfaction of accomplishment.
I have heard of some really brilliant people, especially from the behavioural science and behavioural economics communities, struggle with staying motivated and on top of their tasks. I guess that is enough to confirm that it is clearly a human challenge, and not one that those who understand behaviour better than the rest of us can easily solve.
It also does not mean it cannot be solved. Just probably not in the ideal, smooth-flowing way we expect it to.

Staying productive and to-do lists are something I do struggle with. And I have tried many apps to help me. Some have worked, to some extent. Some have worked well in combinations with other apps. In short, it has been a messy process at least for me.

I started creating Excel spreadsheets to keep track of my tasks during my venture capital days. And over time, I’d realize I am falling back, so I’d rework the layout, find some effectiveness, and the cycle would repeat.

I have since, used Google Keep, EverNote, more spreadsheets, Trello, and well over a dozen other apps that I didn’t seem to work for me.

Recently, I read the book, ‘To-Do List Formula‘ by Damon Zahariades. And, it is brilliant.
The book has been beautifully written. The author literally describes different approaches from the perspective of a newbie, and then tells you why that one doesn’t work or where it falls short. That way, by just reading the book, you quickly go through the process of discovery and progress that could otherwise sometimes take years. Ask me.

Anyway, I created a list of key points from the book to serve as a ready reference. Sharing the overview of key points I created from the book here, in case some of you find it useful.
Of course, this is simply to give you a flavour of the book itself, which I strongly recommend you read. For those of you who have a Kindle Unlimited plan or trial plan, it is available there as well!

Anyway, he highly recommended the Todoist app. I have been using it for almost a month now.
Of course, still too early to say, and obviously, it is not the tool itself that will compensate for shortfalls in our enthusiasms or anything, but so far, it has been a good tool.

I love Trello, that I have been using for over a year, and still do. But this one somehow edges it out when it comes to the layout and experience. Still haven’t figured exactly how though yet.

In the next post, I share a RattL ’em idea I suggested to Todoist recently.

Till then, here’s the overview of key points I created from the book.

2 Comments
  1. Swati

    Nice concept Shrutin, to prioritise our daily work is the must needed attitude as the dreams we need to accomplish should be given time along with it , but the working people will benefit with this concept very well and can set goals as per the requirement.

    • Shrutin N Shetty

      True, Swati. I think everyone can benefit from it. Everyone has dreams they don’t find time to pursue. This might help. =)

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