Do you love to-do lists? I do, but there’s a problem with them.

How to decide what to do first.

Alexandra Negulescu
4 min readJul 11, 2023
Photo by Alex Gruber on Unsplash

I believe to-do lists are useful in two situations:

  1. When you go grocery shopping or engage in any other shopping-related activity and you need to make sure you don’t forget any item on the list.
  2. When you have too many things running through your mind, and you need a list to organize and prioritize your tasks.

However, to-do lists may not be as useful as we think when it comes to achieving your goals.

To-do lists are simply a collection of our best intentions, and we often focus only on crossing off everything on the list, losing sight of what is most important to us.

This is where a success list comes in.

In his book “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results,” Gary Keller suggests that a “success list” is more effective than a to-do list. A success list is intentionally designed to achieve extraordinary results, while to-do lists tend to be long. unfocused, exhausting and leave you with the feeling of never finishing your work

Okay, but the big question is: when you have a lot to get done in a day, how do you decide what to do first?

If you’ve been reading my blog or have known me for some time, you already know that I’m all about helping you reach your goals.

I also know about you that you’re an achiever.

And like any other achiever, you must have an eye for what’s essential and a clear sense of priority.

A to-do list becomes a success list when you start applying Pareto’s Principle to it.

A to-do list is a simple list of tasks that need to be completed. Typically, the first task that comes to mind is the one that is worked on first.

On the other hand, a success list helps you to focus on your most important tasks.

Pareto’s principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, states that nearly all rewards come from focused effort. In other words, the majority of your desired outcomes will come from a minority of your actions, meaning that not all actions are created equal.

A to-do list becomes a success list when you prioritize what is most important.

Start by looking at your list from a point of view of what “should you do” vs. what you “could do”. Always focus on your “should dos.” That’s how you discover your most important tasks.

Picture from “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results,” by Gary Keller

Picture from “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results,” by Gary Keller

Let’s use myself as an example.

I began rigorously applying a rule to my daily task list at the start of last year. This list includes numerous items, such as administrative work, writing a weekly newsletter, creating content for social media, teaching yoga, and coaching people.

Initially, I felt overwhelmed by the many tasks I had to complete each week.

However, I then considered what was most important to me: teaching and coaching people. I realized that creating social media content, and programs, and writing the weekly newsletter allowed me to be discovered by individuals who were interested in my services.

But you have to go even deeper.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur, you already know how overwhelming it can be to create content for social media. It’s frustrating and confusing to come up with new content every week. To simplify my approach, I again used the Pareto principle to focus on finding my most important task.

I discovered that my weekly newsletter and my YouTube channel impact my work most. With just one email per week, I can create 4–5 pieces of social content, showcase my expertise, educate people, and feel great in the process because I’m focusing on my biggest priority.

What started as a pandemic solution became my most impactful yoga program yet. I’m referring to the 21-day yoga program that I release every January, which you may have already taken.

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Alexandra Negulescu

The Multi-Passionate Person | Yoga Teacher & Mindset Coach | I write about entrepreneurship and personal growth. Join 2,2k readers here →