For entrepreneurs there is a strange paradox related to To-Do lists. Most of us use them, yet many of us use them in a way that hinders our productivity rather than improving it.
The Completion Bias
There is something that psychologists call the “Completion Bias.” Basically, this bias from which we all suffer to some degree causes us to decide to do something for no better reason than we know it can be done quickly and we want to check it off of our To-Do list.
Working through our To-Do lists is a worthy task, but there’s hidden peril here. This Completion Bias makes us prioritize small, less important, and easier tasks above larger, more difficult, and more important tasks.
The result can often be a never-ending game of trivial pursuit. We’re checking a lot of small tasks off of our To-Do lists every day, but we are never getting around to the hard work of focusing on the larger, more important things.
Sure, completing those small tasks and marking them as done is gratifying, and it creates the illusion that we’ve had a productive day – but have we really?
If we are not careful, this can unconsciously become our standard operating procedure. We spend our time completing numerous relatively insignificant tasks while at that same time subconsciously avoiding the larger, more difficult tasks that would actually have a meaningful impact on the success of our businesses.
Carl Jung observed, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
So, maybe it would be helpful for us to become conscious of the Completion Bias and how it may be affecting our daily routines.