Top 3 Reasons why your to-do lists are bad for you



To-do list is one of the most commonly used term all over the world across different ages. Right from my school days to being a working professional, I was taught to make a to-do list. Every time I had overwhelming work, multiple deadlines, or some of the important work I tend to forget. To-do list was my way out, but recently I realised I have been doing it all wrong. So if you are also into making a to-do list and yet feel anxious every time then this article is for you. 

Let’s dive into knowing what are the elements of a to-do list. 

  • First, it contains the series of tasks you are required to perform based on how important each of them is. That is, the task on top is very important and last is less important or very hard. 
  • Second, some people also mention the time allotted to each task. 

But mentioning only these two elements is where the to-do list goes wrong. As it does not have space for one of the most important elements these days, that is distractions. Because in a world where our phones, laptops are full of buzzing notifications that are so much capable of seeking our attention plays a huge role in distracting us from our work. 

This is where we feel unproductive! 

Avoiding these distractions always leaves no room for the possibility of delayed work, which often makes us feel that we are unproductive or create the negative thinking that we are not capable of performing tasks and submit them on the predetermined deadlines. 

We also feel that we are useless and this becomes a potential cause of hate for ourselves. Every time we have unticked boxes in our to-do list, it gives us that sinking feeling of not being productive.

So..What can you do? 

Here is a solution! 

  • Revise your to-do list- Understand the key to a successful to-do list is thinking that work is perpetual. It will never end. So if you keep on making to-do lists all it will cause is anxiety and negative thinking.
  • Disable notification- While working we all tend to get distracted by our curiosity in knowing why the phone or a laptop is buzzing. Who has liked my latest posts or emailed me about work or the like. This will cause you to waste all your time that was supposed to be used for work. Disabling the notifications or keeping devices in DND mode certainly helps.
  • Add breaks- While revising your to-do list do not forget to mention the time you will allow yourself as short breaks in which you can eat, or interact with family members to stay connected with them.
  • Measurements of productivity- Instead of quantitative measures of analysing how much work is done, monitor how much time you took to complete a particular task. What is the number of times you got distracted from work? And what is the accuracy of the work you were able to do without being distracted? 

So to sum up, instead of depending on the standard to-do list, make your to-do list with the intention of staying focused and not getting distracted and see how much you can strike off that list!

About the author


VIVEK IYYANI is a Millennial Specialist and Keynote Speaker at Millennial Minds Pte Ltd. He is the Author of the book Empowering Millennials and Engaging Millennials and has spoken at organisations like Oracle, Julius Bär, the Brunei Government,, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore Police Force, Johnson & Johnson, DELTA Airlines, and many more. He has been featured by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to feature in a video of #MySingaporeStory. He has also appeared on Channel NewsAsia twice as a guest on the Millennial topic and on local media such as Vasantham TV Channel and Oli 96.8FM Radio. Vivek is known in his industry to speak at conferences on how to engage the young generation to work at their peak potential.


Gen Z, Millennials, Productivity

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