It is a feeling of relieve to check things off your to-do list. You feel more confident, satisfied and productive. But think again, are you really more productive that way? That kind of approach might keep you away from solving larger and more important things to do.
The term “Completion Bias” denotes that particular attitude – you are searching for the pleasure which task-completing brings. It could lure you focus on small to-dos only in order to get the things (and the feeling of success) quicker. A whole day could be spent on minor and less important responsibilities like answering emails, routine actions, general housekeeping tasks and others alike. Being busy gives and completing tasks gives you the impression you are productive. If you look back and think on it consciously, the picture looks not that great. What have been done, what important things are accomplished? One could suddenly realize that a great deal of time is spent on auxiliary and non important stuff. Keeping it that way could even impair your ability to create a decent to-do list.
How can we fix such a situation. Professor Francesca Gino from the Harvard Business School and Bradley Straats, an associate professor from the University of North Carolina have been dealing with the subject. They have a very sane proposal on how to mix up large and small, tough and easy tasks in your to-do list. Simply an easy task done, then use the momentum gained to take a more complex task. Then repeat.
This way you can filter out some of the minor tasks that clutter your to-do list and are not really essential. You will still finish the small responsibilities and obtain the positive feeling of getting a task done. The emotion and confidence will help you to tackle harder tasks.