Your To Do List Is Holding You Back

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Ari Meisel

Ari Meisel’s story starts in 2006, when some unexpected news derailed his booming real estate career: Crohn’s Disease (a highly-debilitating digestive ailment, which barred Ari from leading a normal life. He lost weight, energy, and the ability to work with regularity).

With a blossoming business to run, and against the advice of doctors and loved-ones, Ari embarked upon an extraordinarily painful journey to cure what medical textbooks consider an incurable disease.  Through excruciating amounts of trial and error, Ari not only regained control of his life but beat this seemingly unbeatable disease — and is now symptom-free.

Less Doing, More Living and Leverage Virtual Assistants are the result of Ari’s amazing journey back to health, happiness, and well-being. Ari currently lives in New York City, where he spends every ounce of free time with his loving wife, Anna, and four fantastic kids — Benjamin, Lucas, Sébastien, and little Chloe.

I’ve written extensively about the damaging effects of using to do lists. The problem with so many to do lists is that people tend to put things on them they can’t reasonably do. Typically they can’t do them because they are too big of a project (like “write book”) or because they can’t move forward until some 3rd party does something first. Most to do lists just end up being a dumping ground and either people feel a false sense of accomplishment because they “put it on their list” or they look at the list and that voice inside our heads that pushes us to complete the uncompleted (formally known as the Zeigarnik Effect) tells us to do all of these things, that we can’t actually do, and our brains basically put a moratorium on any form of productivity.

If you’re using a whiteboard as your to do list, stop reading right now, take picture, and erase it immediately. You’re guaranteeing you’ll never get those things done.


However, if your to do list looks like this, there’s hope…


and here’s why: while I don’t believe in to do lists, I do believe, very strongly, in DOING lists.

A DOING list is a place where you can put a task or project and have a clear path towards actually getting it completed. This is where Trello comes in. Trello allows you to put your tasks into an “assembly line” of sorts that follow a Kanban system (basically the Japanese version of lean manufacturing). You can use Trello to organize pretty much anything but if you use it for project management than you have projects that correspond to a board, each board has lists which represent phases (like To Do, Doing, Done, or Prospect, Lead, Customer for example), and each card is a task. Below is my DOING list.


Everyone who works at Leverage learns these methods and can teach them to our clients. We train people to be the most effective versions of themselves and we are hiring as fast as we possibly can.  To find positions at Leverage, view the application here.  

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