I definitely agree that to-do lists don’t work because people put way too much on those. Using Calendly has also been a game changer for me and avoided the emails back and forth.
And in general, a to-do list doesn’t motivate me, but a deadline does. Was it Mark Twain who said “The task expands to fit the time?” Completely true for me. Again, some people do pretty well with to-do lists. I don’t know their secret.