To do lists are really helpful for getting stuff done (especially for us disorganized musicians) but it's easy to put on an endless series of tasks that may or may not be worth your time. Here are 5 things to ask yourself before putting it on your list:
1. Is it worth the time it'll take to complete?
We often drop items into our to do list without thinking if it's actually worth the time. I often put items that seem high priority at the time into my daily list, but later in the day it seems unimportant or even unnecessary. Don't be afraid to take it off your list if it's not worth the time.
2. Is it something I could simplify or remove with no negative consequences?
We often do things because we think we should, not because we actually want to or need to do the item. If something's really miserable to do but you have to do it, simplify it as much as you can so it gets done. If it can be removed with no consequences it's probably not worth doing.
3. What's the best case result if I do the item?
Thinking about outcomes can help us better structure our tasks throughout the day. Always thinking about the outcome will keep you from getting bogged down in meaningless work.
4. What will completing this task keep me from doing?
Opportunity costs should be a factor when putting items on your task list. If something keeps you from doing something important, it might be worth removing from your list.
5. Does it take more time to put it on my to do list than it does to just do it?
I've laughed at myself so many times for writing down items like " Text Jim" when it takes the exact same time to actually text Jim that it does to write down "Text Jim". If you can get it done fast, don't bother writing it down on your to do list (unless you're a Type A personality and you derive deep happiness for checking off items in your to do list).