Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Why is a to-do list bad for you?

Simply put, it is disconnected from reality.

On a list, all tasks have the same size. True, you can deploy a sophisticated tagging system to mark their difficulty or how much time they need. Even so, though, especially when digitally managed, lists can grow indefinitely. A to-do list that grows faster than you can remove things is bound to be a major source of stress in your life.

In other words, the list becomes your foe.

The calendar is your friend.

We all have that one true friend that tells us the truth without sugarcoating it.

That’s your calendar. Tasks can expand to the appropriate size based on how much time you need to perform them. Overlapping double and triple bookings will be immediately obvious. How far in the future you need to look for available time will give you a crystal clear indication of what you should delegate or cancel.

A calendar allows you to budget your time following your priorities.

Here’s how to proceed:

  1. Start by blocking time for the essential things in life.
    Sleeping, eating, family time, personal time, reading, fitness, hobbies.
  2. Then move to block time for focused work based on your need.
    The amount is very dependent on your role but is never null.
  3. Insert then all your recurring group or 1-1 meetings.
    Try to keep the amount in check. I try and limit mine to 20 hours/week.
  4. Make sure you have left an hour or two each day so you can support your team as needed without constantly disrupting your schedule.
  5. If you can’t schedule something in the next two weeks, consider delegating it, canceling it, or replacing another task with it.

Finally, do a 5-minute review each day to report any unfinished item to a future date. And a 30-minute one at the end of each week to plan the next.