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You’ll Accomplish More Without a To-Do List

May 1, 2019

In Greek mythology, Tantalus was cast out of Olympus and punished for stealing ambrosia and nectar from the table of the gods.

After his death, he had to stand for all eternity in a pool of water, just below the branches of a fruit tree. If he reached for the fruit, the branches moved up and out of reach. If he tried to take a drink, the waters receded.

Call me dramatic, but to-dos lists make me feel like Tantalus. Just as you reach the final item, a new task pops up that extends the list for days, or even weeks. It’s infuriating. Yet, from grade school on, most of us are advised to battle overwhelm by making a list and crossing off one item at a time.

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