In a previous series for SmartBrief, I laid out my 5-step productivity process for leaders, which I then turned into a Productivity Blueprint. This post goes deeper on the first of my five steps, planning for maximal productivity, and picks up from his last one, which detailed how to identify our most important tasks.

Few productivity tools elicit divergent opinions as does a to-do list. Despite their longstanding as the method of choice for productivity enthusiasts, to-do lists have come under recent fire as an antiquated system that must be improved upon or dropped.

Some reasons for this are that list users will:

Put everything on their lists, regardless of the level of impact it has on our day. They see their list as a workplace parking lot where everything gets dumped until it gets completed.

Get overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do. Not surprisingly, these lists can quickly get out of hand and start to overwhelm us. We experience paralysis by analysis and just sit there wondering how we can possibly do it all.