Reset your mind and forget about everything. Enjoy the moment and enjoy being “here.”

Would you believe that the most productive people we’ve ever encountered don’t use to-do lists? This comes mainly from the fact that to-do lists are not linked to goals. So, what do they use to keep from having to remember all the things they need to do? Nothing. If something comes up again and again, they do it. If not, they forget about it. They stay focused on only the most important things.

When I was young, my parents often said I should eat everything that was on my plate. The same happens with your to-do lists. You do everything that is on your plate.

So — where to start?

Don’t try to remember everything that needs to be done. Use the visual mind mapping technique. Divide all your tasks into two categories: “Do” and “Maybe.” Everything important for achieving your goals goes into the “Do” category. Usually, this includes one or two tasks per day, and you need to tackle these first. Everything else goes into the “Maybe” category.

What is the difference?

The visual mind mapping approach helps you to forget things. A to-do list is exactly the opposite — it helps you to remember things that need (supposedly) to get done. With a to-do list, you end up completing every meaningless task. And frankly, the process of ticking off tasks is addicting — every small achievement, no matter how meaningless, releases dopamine (the hormone in your brain that makes you feel happy). With visual mind mapping, you focus your attention on only the important things and forget the rest.

How will this make me more productive?

To become more productive, you need to become lean. For example, if you want to lose weight, you should eat only a half of a portion. But have you ever tried to eat only a half of your favourite pizza? It sounds and feels like an impossible mission. But you can only lose weight by eating less. The same principle applies to productivity: To become truly productive, you need to do less — less bullshit, that is.

Now, log in to your to-do app account and hit DELETE. You will see that nothing bad will happen. We’re all working in a creative-inventive market, not a safety-critical market like medicine or nuclear power. Even if something gets forgotten, it will pop up again and again.

Effective executives know where their time goes. They work systematically at managing the little of their time that can be brought under their control. Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else. ― Peter Drucker (from The Effective Executive)

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