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Why Your To Do List is Slowly Killing You: The Shocking Productivity Truth

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Why Your To Do List is Slowly Killing You...

...The Shocking Productivity Truth.

Task management systems are meant to make life easier by helping us to identify and organize what we need to do and when we need to do it.

The only trouble is, at least for most of us, that no matter how many To Do lists we write, we never gain the real control and organization that we crave.

What’s more, far from being just a ‘tool that doesn’t work very well’, the humble To Do list, in its many forms, can so confuse our priorities that our productivity levels nose-dive rather than soar.

When our productivity levels drop and we fail to 'achieve', our stress levels can go through the roof, particularly if we still have a lot to do.

Now and again, this is just an uncomfortable experience with which we can cope. But when stress becomes a permanent state, embedded deep into daily life, it can have an immensely damaging impact on our health – as all those who have succumbed to premature heart attacks through stress are testament.

While sudden death may be the most 'extreme' evidence of poor task management, if you’re experiencing the following symptoms, then the way you manage your workload may very well need some 'intensive care':

  • You dread looking at your To Do list
  • You always seem to be under deadline pressure because – intentionally or not – you prioritize all your tasks by their urgency
  • You keep adding items to your To Do list as new tasks occur to you, so that in the end the original tasks are buried beneath an avalanche of others
  • You agonize over what job to do next because you’re not sure which should take priority
  • Every job on your To Do list seems large and daunting, which makes you feel continually overwhelmed
  • Your desk is so covered with pieces of paper, documents for filing, reminder notes and memos, that you frequently ‘misplace’ important pieces of information
  • You worry about throwing something away because it might be important though you’re not sure why
  • You have an increasing number of projects on the go, but you never seem to be closer to finishing any of them
  • You work long hours and put in the effort, but still end up ‘going to the wire’ with pretty much everything you do
  • Your work day often ends with no sense of achievement
  • You regularly experience moments of panic about forgotten tasks
  • You frequently go so bed and/or wake up thinking of all the tasks you need to do
  • Your work day often creeps into your personal life and family time

Download Arrow IconDownload Free Version of ShoutDone To Do List Software

Why Most People Add to Their Problems.

In our fast moving, 24/7 business landscape, where a manager can have any number of ‘open’ projects on the go, it’s easy to see that handwritten, paper-based methods of task management are unlikely to be an effective tool.

But the inherent weaknesses of the traditional To Do list format mean that even if you plump for a software version, you can still actually lower your productivity and increase your stress.

There are a number of reasons for this.

First, To Do lists tend to bring together different types of tasks - making phone calls, writing documents, having face-to-face meetings, planning and researching - that require us to swap between skills, behaviors and thinking patterns. But ‘mind-switching’ like this takes time and effort, as we have to ‘warm up’ each time.

What's more, by their very nature, conventional To Do lists isolate tasks from the larger projects that they are part of, which means that when we look at our lists, we just see ‘things’ to do, not the steps on the way to success that they represent.

Task management software based on old-style To Do lists also usually requires us to set due dates and create specific timeframes for their completion. But often we don’t know exactly how long jobs will take and so end up setting ourselves inappropriate and unrealistic deadlines.

All of which means that we’re continuously bombarded by reminders from our software that simply add to our stress, rather than diminish it.

Choose the wrong task management software and it can be difficult and time consuming to input new tasks into the application. When you have tens or even hundreds of new tasks to add each day or each week, this can be a tedious and long-winded chore. That’s the last thing you want when you are trying to relieve the pressure of work.

Alongside this, many task management systems, no matter what format they take, can often be over-complicated.  They can suffer from ‘feature bloat’ – overfilled with lots of bells and whistles that suggest good value, but in reality just make the program harder to learn as they hide the features we do want, beneath a load that we don’t.

Continually having to hack your way through the ‘features’ undergrowth just adds to our stress and cuts down on our productivity.

Download Arrow IconDownload Free Version of ShoutDone To Do List Software

So, how can you de-stress your productivity?

Instead of opting for the older style, list-based system, try using one of the new era software applications, like our very own ShoutDone - linked to above, and right.

These are not based on traditional ‘vertical’ lists, but are project-based systems that encourage ‘next action’ thinking and allow filtering by ‘context’ to maximize your personal effectiveness.

They also offer a far more interesting and engaging user experience that encourages continued use and combats ‘list fatigue’, which can make using some task management systems seem a major chore.

Of course, particularly if you are under time and work pressure, it is all too easy to drop back into the old ways and take out your pencil sharpener - better the devil you know than the one you don’t.

Fortunately, applications like this are intuitive to use, but, like any new software, do require a little practice and regular use if they are to become part of your daily routine.

So, if you’re feeling the strain, it may be time to take another look at the task management system you’re using now and decide if it’s truly a trusted and reliable friend, or your worst enemy.

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User Comments:

quotation1Excellent software. Really helped me to establish and maintain my goals and task priorities. Highly recommended.Quotation 2

Richard Paris

quotation1 Congrats on a just about perfect user interface and great concept, particularly the highlighting and prioritizing via so many user-created options. Thanks!Quotation 2

Dev

quotation1This looks like one AWESOME, ELEGANTLY designed piece of software and an excellent first release from a clearly classy company.Quotation 2

Andrew Griffiths - California

quotation1Just a final word from me. I cannot praise Rich enough for the level of support he provided... Great work.Quotation 2

Adrian Williams, UK

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About ShoutDone To Do List Software.

To do list software is an essential tool in our daily battle for increased productivity, reduced stress and a better work-life balance.

ShoutDone is a powerful task management system that presents your projects and tasks in a new light thanks to its unique, high quality interface.

With simple-to-use yet powerful features, ShoutDone will have you working more productively than ever before in only a matter of minutes. Your life, more organized.

Download Arrow IconDownload Free Version of ShoutDone To Do List Software