One of the classic productivity techniques is the to-do list, and it’s a classic for a good reason. It can be one of the most productive ways for you to get things done. Whether you keep a mental list or write everything down, a to-do list is an effective productivity tool.
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However, despite its effectiveness, the to-do list can also be one of the more confusing productivity tools. A lot of people discredit the list for a lot of reasons and don’t think it’s effective. If you think this, you’re probably not using your list in as an effective way as you could be. Here’s how to get it right.
Split The List Into Two Parts
Split your list into two parts, called dailies and to-dos.
Dailies are the everyday tasks that you want to develop more. For example, if you want to get into the habit of going for a run in the morning, one of your dailies could be going out for a jog.
The to-dos are tasks that aren’t daily but that do need to be done at some point. Perhaps you need to prepare a presentation for work or sort out some kind of insurance. For example, roofing insurance claims just became more complicated, are you covered in a storm? If you’re not, this would go on your to-do list.
This strategy stops your list from getting cluttered. A lot of people stuff their lists and include tasks they would do anyway, like buying groceries or picking the children up from school.
Put a Limit On Items
If you find splitting the list is still confusing, keep things brief on your list. Set any number of items, but have a set limit in mind. Some people find it helps to have no more than seven things on their list, whereas others can only manage three.
The idea is that you focus on the important tasks that you need to get done each day. There will be other things you do each day, which is fine but prioritize the items that are on your to-do list before the day is over.
Use Checklists For Complex Tasks
If you already have a narrow list but are including more difficult tasks, then break this task down. Whether you split into the steps you need to take or make notes of important details is up to you.
This will make sure you can get everything done properly and don’t miss out on any key steps.
Make Your List Easy To Spot
You could write your list on colorful paper or attach it somewhere easy to see, like on the fridge. You want your list to be somewhere where you can see it easily. You don’t need to have the list in front of you all the time, as this can make you feel stressed out. Setting your list aside sometimes can be a good idea. Keep it nearby, so you can glance over and know what you need to get done.