To Make Your to-Do List More Effective, Make It Public

There is a strong case for making your goals public . You can use the same method with your to-do list, and beyond the accountability factor, making a to-do list for someone else can help you make it more concise and effective.

Research published in the Psychological Bulletin found that publicly recording goals is the most effective method of achieving them. The study concluded:

Our results are relevant for those interested in changing their behavior and achieving their goals, as well as for those who want to help them, such as weight loss programs, money advisory agencies or sports coaches. Encouraging people to track their progress can help them achieve their goals, but some monitoring methods are better than others. In particular, we recommend encouraging people to record, report, or post what they learn as they measure their progress.

Obviously, there is responsibility: when you know someone knows about your success, it can motivate you to work harder (although not everyone agrees ). However, as Dr. Joe Reddington explains on his blog, posting a task list can help you edit it and make it more effective. Reddington says that when he decided to go public with his list, “he immediately looked very bad.” He noticed repetition of the same task and tasks, which were more vague questions than statements.

He then adjusted his list accordingly:

  • “Azulejoe javascript can help with refactoring” becomes “spend 40 minutes refactoring azulejoe javascript”.
  • “Search ISAAC Twitter” becomes “Define ISAAC Twitter as a project.”
  • “Determine correctly what staff costs you applied” turns into “Update bids filed for file” and “Restructure” bids filed for “.

His edits are much more specific, detailed, and actionable, making them easier to follow . When it’s time to get down to your tasks, you don’t need to waste precious time interpreting how to implement each one; you can start right now. For more details, navigate to Reddington’s full post below.

Now my to-do list is public, and it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve done in recent years. | Joe Reddington via Reddit


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