Checking off an item on a to-do list, however small, releases dopamine which creates a sense of euphoria.
So we try to quickly complete another item from the list just to get one more feel-good moment. This sense of accomplishment leads us to pursue easy-to-do tasks. This gives the feeling of control and that we’re getting things done.
But while we’re busy tackling small tasks, we avoid the complicated projects that take us to the next level.
Counterintuitively, a to-do list can be a powerful procrastinator. You are putting all your to-dos in the same place and give them equal treatment.
You DON'T NEED TO DITCH your to-do list. Just decide what’s important and relentlessly prioritize it. Separate the low-priority stuff from the high-priority stuff. Use a separate list for your highest priorities. Break down the big tasks on your high-priority list into smaller pieces.
A task like “write book” is too overwhelming. You don’t know where to start. But “write 500 words today” is doable. Don’t get overwhelmed focusing on getting to the top of the mountain. You’re just taking one step at a time.
If you do this for long enough, you’ll summit to the top.