Time to Ditch the To Do List

Feb 08, 2021

Confession time: I used to be a To Do List junkie. I used to have to do lists all over the place in various notebooks of different sizes. I also had sticky notes AND to do lists on Notes on my Mac. Work to do lists, family to do lists, food to buy lists, holiday prep to do lists, party prep to do lists – am I alone here or are you with me?


Here’s the thing, I thought these to do lists were helping me to organise my thoughts and my tasks when in fact, they were causing me stress, frustration and overwhelm. How many lifetimes would I need to get half of all that stuff done?


So after much trial and error, this is the conclusion I came to: To Do lists are great for a brain dump, but they are awful as a task management tool.


Let’s drill down into this.


Here’s how a to do list can be of value:


  • You can get everything out of your head where it is causing you stress and anxiety thereby allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
  • You can get really comprehensive about everything you need to get done so you don’t feel like you’re forgetting anything.
  • You can get clarity about the different types of things that need to get done and group activities together.
  • It helps you with planning if you have a list of things to buy or steps to take to achieve a goal.


These are all great benefits, but the real problems start when you look at this monster to do list and use it as a planning tool to figure out what to work on next.


Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:


  • They get so overwhelmed just by seeing all the things they need to do that they end up doing nothing, or just doing the easiest things requiring the least amount of effort.
  • They don’t know how to prioritise the items on the list so waste huge amounts of time trying to figure out what to work on first.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it making the stress levels even worse.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks which further confuses the boundaries when balancing a homelife and entrepreneurial business.


So what’s the solution?


Ditch the to do list!


Ok, you don’t need to be that drastic, you can keep it for reference if you want, but instead, I teach all my clients to focus on the Top 3 for Today.


Top 3 For Today


Every morning when I sit down to work, I write down the three main things that I need to accomplish that day on a sticky note that goes on my planning board (the hot pink one in the middle).



I make sure that two of the tasks are really meaty and I do the one that's hardest first. In this way, I know that I am always being productive because productivity isn’t about getting lots of stuff done, it’s about getting the right stuff done in the time you have.


Now my Top 3 For Today isn’t a standalone. It’s part of the bigger system that I teach in Path to Productivity (doors open at the beginning of March so click here to save your spot!) The Path takes you from identifying your priorities, to tying them into your goals, setting Goals that are Your #1 ASSET and finally, breaking them down by year, by month and by day. Make sense?


When you know what the critical tasks you need to work on are during the week, then knowing what needs to get done in the day is easy! “But Marina,” I can hear you say “what about ALL those other things on the to do list? How will I ever get anything done if I only do 3 things?”


This is a great question my friend, and it goes back to the idea of getting the right things done in the time you have. By only focusing on 3 important goal-oriented tasks each day, you know that you are moving the needle forward in your business and your life. Once these things are done, you can get other stuff from your brain dump done if you like – and that’s all gravy. In case you don’t know what I mean by gravy – I’m talking about bonus points – it’s all gold stars!


The big danger that you will be avoiding by following this approach is randomly ticking off lots of useless things from a massive to do list in the hopes that you are making forward progress. As management expert Peter Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”


The final step? Put important tasks in your calendar. Unlike many others, I don’t use to do list apps because I try to keep things simple – there’s more than enough complexity in life already! Instead, I put important tasks directly into my calendar and block out adequate time to achieve them. I plan this out during my weekly planning session (also part of the Path to Productivity system) and it really helps to clarify what my Top 3 For Today should be.


So have I convinced you? Are you ready to ditch your to do list and focus on your Top 3 For Today instead? I certainly hope so and would love to hear about your thoughts in the comments below.


But if you’re having a hard time figuring out what you need to focus on first to get those big results in your business then I have your back! I have created a FREE worksheet called


6 Easy Steps for Female Entrepreneurs to Get More Done in Less Time


to help you identify the crucial activities you MUST focus on right now to get bigger results in your business (in less time). With my FREE worksheet, you just follow the steps to get more big wins while spending less time and energy to make them happen.

Just click or tap the link below and get your free copy today!


6 Easy Steps for Female Entrepreneurs to Get More Done in Less Time


Committed to your success,


Marina x

Want to know more about getting your POWER back? 

I want you to know that Transformation is possible. Progress is possible. I’ve implemented these steps in my own life and coached my clients through the process


Maybe now really is your time to make a change? Maybe this is that moment for you. If so, then I would like to invite you to book a FREE Kickstart Your Power Session, where we get on a call for 60 minutes and identify what obstacles are stopping you from reaching your goals and work out a plan for overcoming them.


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