The Task List Magic Number

Task List
How many items should a good task list have? I really believe that 7 (plus or minus 2) is the best number. A ‘to-do’ list with 60 items will never get fully completed and one feels defeated when seeing 80% of the tasks as incomplete or not-yet-started at the bedtime. Besides, a big list encourages people to pick the low-hanging fruit and ignore the important things.

Of course, one likely has more than 7 items that need to be completed within a single day; however, you should always focus on the 5 to 9 major things and not move to second-level tasks until those are fully completed. The most difficult or disliked task should be the first one you tackle.

The 80-20 rule is on your side with this methodology. By getting the most important tasks and projects completed, you’ll achieve more in the long run.