Improving Your To-Do List Strategy

by | Nov 14, 2017 | Blog

I’m still here in Punta Cana! You’re missing some really fantastic weather & salsa dancing!

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Every day that I’ve been here, I’ve had a work to-do list. (Don’t feel bad for me – I love my work and I love investing in everyone in the Primal Potential family each day).

I wake up between 4:30-5am to get in some quiet, focused work time before spending the rest of the day on the beach.

It has been (and is always) tempting to tackle my list by doing the easy things first.

I do this at home, too. I’ll glance down the list and cherry-pick what is easiest or fastest, letting the harder, more time consuming or mentally taxing things pile up.

I’m getting things done; I’m spending my time working, but I’m not making fast progress. Plus, there’s a looming sense of dread because, as I burn through my best time of fresh focus, the hard things are still waiting for me.

In fact, I’ve been guilty of adding things I’ve already done to my list just do I can check them off! That is seriously unproductive. It’s a time waster. That’s about ego & distraction way more than it is about doing the right things & doing them well.

Knowing this, I try to do the most important things first. Yes, there is a book about this called Eat That Frog. Decent book – if you want to increase your productivity, that’s a great read. Even more so, I’d recommend The One Thing and Essentialism.

I spent yesterday morning consciously choosing the most important, hardest & most time consuming tasks first. Then later, while reading the Harvard Business Review at the pool, I read a short article that reinforced this strategy. The article was called, “Productivity: Stop checking off easy to-dos“.


Stop checking off easy to-dos.

It talked about research conducted looking at doctors. Emergency room doctors are trained to triage their patients, seeing the most critical patients first. However, many doctors select the simplest cases first so they can see more total patients during their shift.

They looking for efficiency (as are we – get more things done quickly) but we’re all missing the mark.

The research concluded that while completing tasks makes us feel good, when we do the easiest tasks before the harder ones we are significantly less productive.

Whatever is on your list, stop checking off the easy stuff first. 

Guys, yesterday’s workout was so fun! I wasn’t really in the mood for a typical gym workout (though I did do a little bit of lifting in the gym) so I hit the beach. I was walking in the water contemplating sprints in the sand. It was hot & the dry sand was scorching my feet, so I decided to take my sprints into the water.

Sprinting in the shallow water (running sprint, not swimming sprint) was such a challenging stimulus but also really fun!

Since it’s my last full day here, I’m going to skip the gym and go kayaking. Not a full-on workout but a totally fantastic way to get in some movement on this last full day of vacation!

On the food front:

Per usual, I drank a boat load of black coffee to start the day while I worked & meditated.

We went down to breakfast and I had eggs & cheese. Simple. Yummy.

I am writing this before lunch but I’m keeping the lunch simple here: salad and ceviche.

Last night we had lobster tail and a pretty decent steak – I think the plan is to do the same tonight for our last night here.

There’s really no temptation to snack here because you don’t want to leave the beach! I love that!

Hope you guys have a wonderful day!

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