Let’s talk about to-do lists

Updated: Apr 21

To-do lists. We all have them; some longer than others. And we can find ourselves overwhelmed by the amount of items on our never-ending list. The problem with to-do lists is that they are chalked full of our brain dumps, in no particular order, with no guaranteed results. Some people find joy in checking items off their to-do list because it makes them feel productive. But here’s an interesting tid-bit.

Activity is often unrelated to productivity and busyness rarely takes care of business. ~ Gary Keller, author, “The ONE Thing”

We can spend all of our time checking things off of our list, but unless we are focusing on the top priorities, we are just going to become more bogged down with meaningless tasks that consume our time and exhaust us. We  wonder why we aren’t seeing the results or gaining traction, despite working so hard. We have created a checklist out of sheer survival, rather than success.

I have always felt that teachers give too much credit to busyness. I worked with a teacher once who laminated everything that went home! What value did that add to the children’s education? Or to anything? It was just a time-sucking activity that kept her busy at work. (And wasted the supply budget.)

Doing more doesn’t necessarily bring success. We have to do the right things in order to achieve success. It’s time to give your to-do list an overhaul. Identify the top priorities that you know will bring you results. These are items that, when stacked on one other, will catapult us into achieving results.

Laminating everything is either taking away from productive work, such as assessing, or working directly with students, or it’s stealing personal time away from family and self-care. Either way, it’s not a priority, and therefore should be off the list.

Stop trying to be the busy bee at work and start focusing your attention on the things that will move the needle for you and your students. We all have the same amount of hours in a day. Depending on how you use these hours will dictate the kind of results you will get and the life you live.


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