With all due respect to LG, to do lists can be major traps for me. I actually had to scrap my task list system altogether about a year ago, and it was the best thing I ever did. I still need to keep track of my tasks, but in a much different way.
My problem is that I get overwhelmed. I tend to be a big picture person, so if I see a long task list I will look at it, and look at it, and then think, "There is no way I can do this," and give up and do something a bit more fun. Having the threat of punishment doesn't help here, because if I think it is impossible, and I will get punished anyways, I figure I might as well enjoy myself, rather than work and work, and fail anyways. Also, anytime I would work on one thing I would be obsessing about all of the other things that weren't getting done. For example, if I was doing work-work, I would obsess about the messy house. If I was doing housework, I would obsess about the work-work. We won't even go to prioritizing the list. I could spend hours with complicated prioritizing, and then be so exhausted after that that I would still not do anything.
Can you tell I have some issues with procrastination and am a bit of a perfectionist?
So far, for me, schedules work the best. Even if I make a list, I put it on a schedule. This way during the time period that I am supposed to do housework, I know that this is my task. I can focus on that. If I start worrying about my work-work, I can stop myself, by thinking, that will be from 3-6, and get back to the task that I am scheduled for at the moment. You would be surprised how much can get done in an hour, when you are actually working one task at a time through that hour.
Of course, I am far from perfect with this, and in fact, Obsidian has just raised the penalty for my going off task during scheduled work times
, because she found it obvious that the penalty was not a sufficient motivator.