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Creating a To-Do list is easy, however, using a To-Do list properly can be daunting. We are going to discuss the pros and cons of To-Do lists for students. This post is part of a series of time management techniques for students that you might find interesting. To find more keep reading.

Despite the fact that most productivity gurus consider To-Do lists to be a harmful technique (see this HBR article) they are still widely used and several APPs are created every year around this concept. Why do students, professors, and seasoned working professionals use them? Should you promote the use of To-Do lists for students? So, let’s dig deep to know some benefits and drawbacks that will help you decide if this technique is good for you.

Benefits

First and foremost, to have everything dumped onto one single piece of paper (or APP for that matter) ensures you don’t forget anything. Therefore, this activity frees your mind to accomplish more complex tasks instead of remembering (obsessively sometimes) other issues. With all the tasks in one place is easier to decide what to do than having that odd feeling that you should be doing something else.

Having a list provides order and, if done regularly, it develops your discipline which is a good habit for students to have. To really develop the virtue of order, every student should have a structured process to fill each item in the To-Do list. If you use an APP the structure is provided to you by those that created it. Using a paper-based To-Do list can provide a greater sense of freedom or a greater fear of a white canvas. There are some great planners and agendas that provide some guidance allowing you to adapt freely.

An additional benefit, but maybe not as relevant as the other ones, is to have a sense of accomplishment by crossing out tasks.

Drawbacks

Usually, it is a never-ending endeavor. No matter how efficient you can be in completing (and crossing out) tasks, there will always be more to add. So, the boost in satisfaction of checking off one task can fade quickly as at the end of the day the list is as long (or even longer) than it was early in the morning. Here is where the discipline part kicks in.

Furthermore, choosing the right task is quite complex and we tend to select the “low hanging fruit” to celebrate success, leaving the long and tedious for “later”. Usually, we never find time to do unpleasant tasks, despite that they might be those that have greater positive impact in our lives. This behaviour can be described as a form of procrastination.

Having a beautiful and clean list is useless unless it is checked and used frequently, which ends up in a messy piece of paper that requires additional effort to clean over and over. Here is one of the greatest benefits of an APP-based To-Do list as it is always clean and you can find the most relevant items quickly and effortlessly.

Finally, papers can get lost or left at home. Here clearly those that choose to use an APP-based To-Do list for students will have an advantage over those that preferred a paper-based option. Those APPs (like STUDEAM) that are back-up in the cloud provide the security that will never get lost.

What if we could enjoy the benefits while protecting against the drawbacks?

At least for students, there is finally a solution! It is a web application called Studeam. When using Studeam you only feed the To-Do list with the homework that you must deliver, update your progress and press a purple button to get a full plan that has been personalized for you. This app is a true study planner. Receiving a careful schedule with all of your priorities embedded at the touch of a button would feel like magic for you. But it is magic worth doing!

With Studeam, you can get your sense of achievement not by crossing out the number of tasks you have, but by doing those tasks that really matter to you. The list might never get shorter, but your psychological well-being is based on the feeling that you are working on items that matter. Furthermore, you can be certain that you will be able to do everything on timeIf you want to understand better what Studeam is, press any of these buttons:

The advanced features of Studeam provide a timely warning when there is simply too much so you can correct the problem days before the train crashes.

I hope that this post has helped you to understand how to use To-Do lists as a student. You can find more time management techniques for students here.

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