Want to be ultra-productive? Throw away that to-do list and start using a calendar instead. According to a LinkedIn article by Kevin Kruse, to-do lists are bad because they don’t account for time, there is no way to distinguish between the urgent and important, and they contribute to a person’s stress level. “In my research into time management and productivity best practices I’ve interviewed over two hundred billionaires, Olympians, straight-A students, and entrepreneurs. I always ask them to give me their best time management and productivity advice. And none of them have ever mentioned a to-do list,” Kruse says. “There is one consistent theme that keeps coming up. Ultra-productive people don’t work from a to-do list, but they do live and work from their calendar.” So how does he recommend managing your life using a calendar instead of a to-do list? Here’s his easy three-step technique.
- Make the default event duration in your calendar only 15 minutes. Google Calendar and Outlook automatically schedule events in 30- or 60-minute increments. However, productive people can complete a task in as few as 15 minutes. “When your default setting is 15 minutes, you’ll automatically discover that you can fit more tasks into each day,” explains Kruse.
- Time-block the most important things in your life first. Pre-schedule time blocks for sacred life and career priorities. Then add in everything else. Be sure to include time blocks for exercise, date night, or other items that are important to your everyday lifestyle.
- Schedule everything. Don’t check your email every few minutes. Schedule a set time to process them every day. Instead of writing ‘call Elizabeth’ on your to-do list, put it on your calendar. “That which is scheduled actually gets done,” writes Kruse. “How much less stress would you feel, and more productive would you be, if you could rip up your to-do list and work from your calendar instead?”
To increase your productivity, read Kruse’s book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management.
Do you use a calendar to organize your life?