To-Do Lists: 10 Tips to Create Them Like a Pro
Scratching out those To-Do lists and still not getting anything done? Anyone can make a list. But it’s how you make it and what you do with it that counts. Here are 10 tips to create To-Do lists like a pro.
- Physical Or Digital – Whichever Is Easier: I know you can put your list on your smartphone or set up a Google doc or use Notepad or whatever. But if it’s too hard to access your list you’re not going to use it. If pencil and paper works best, then use it.
- Put It On Your Keyboard: Leave your To-Do list on your keyboard at the end of the day so it’s the first thing you see in the morning.
- At Your Fingertips At All Times: Your list should be right out there in the open all day long so you can glance over and see what you’ve accomplished and what you have left to do. Another good reason for using pencil and paper.
- One Day At A Time: Make a separate list for each day. If you don’t have to do it until Friday then put it on Friday’s list.
- Prioritize: At the top of your list should be the things you absolutely need to accomplish today. Next, list the items you want to work on today that may not have to actually be finished until tomorrow. And finally, list items that aren’t necessarily a priority but you want to start on them today if you still have time.
- Things To Do Later: Leave room at the bottom to include things you want to work on sometime in the future, new ideas that pop into your head while you’re working and things you want to mull over before you decide if it’s something you really want to do.
- What NOT To Do: Include reminders of what NOT to do: Don’t check email until the end of the day, Don’t answer Skype until the end of the day, Don’t turn on the TV until you shut off your computer.
- Be Realistic: If you put more items on your list than you can actually accomplished in a day then you’re just going to stress yourself out. It’s not good planning, either. Re-prioritize your list and rearrange your weekly work schedule. This is what’s keeping you from getting everything done.
- Finish One Before You Move On: Only allow yourself to take a break or move on to the next item on the list if you’ve completed an item. Once you start on something, finish it.
- Update Tomorrow’s List: If you don’t get everything done, move those items into an appropriate position on tomorrow’s list. Then, re-evalute your work habits to see why those items didn’t get completed. Were you being overly ambitious when you created your list? Or did you waste time playing WOW today?