Most of us treat our to-do lists as a collection of mundane, but pressing, responsibilities we face during the next day or week. But University of Texas professor Art Markham warns that filling to-do lists with only the boring, tedious tasks can distract us from more significant and long term goals, ultimately cause us to come up short on such goals.
To often, we “don’t move toward our most significant goals automatically; we fall short of them because we’re too consumed with immediate task execution,” says Markham, author of several books including, most recently, Brain Briefs.
“Research on happiness suggests that people who see their jobs as a calling enjoy their work more than those who just see their jobs as a collection of things to do,” according to Markham. “A sense of purpose matters and a well-written to-do list can help impart it.”
Individuals who view their jobs as a calling recognize that the significant contributions you make day in, day out, all add up to something significant over a career. So your to-do list should ideally make that easier to see, not harder.
Include big-picture tasks on your agenda, not just urgent ones.
Advice from Markham | The next time you write a to-do list, make a conscious effort to figure out when, over the next workweek, you’ll be able to add (big-picture) tasks to your schedule.