A humble to-do list is a powerful tool. It doesn’t matter whether you create and keep a digital list or a pen and paper. What matters is that you create and use your lists every day to help you get and stay organised. The following tips will ensure that your to do lists are a successful tool in your organisational toolbox that will help you on those days where brain fog is kicking your ass.
Keep it short
The ideal length of a to-do list is 10 items or less. You’ve probably created lists in the past that have seemed endless. Instead of helping you feel organised and successful, you probably ended the day with most of the items still unticked and feeling an epic failure. By keeping your list purposely short you are more likely to cross off every item and end the day feeling successful.
Separate lists for home and work
Don’t add your work tasks to your personal to-do list. Maintain separate lists. 2 smaller lists are better than 1 big one. Plus your boss might be a bit miffed if they spot your to-do list on your desk and the item at the top says “book bikini wax”.
Once you’ve listed everything you need to get done, number the items in order of priority. Do the most important items first and you’ll feel the biggest sense of achievement. If they’re all important, do the one you’re dreading most first. Getting that out of the way will make the rest of your list seem like a breeze. If there are any items on your list that aren’t important then mark them as such. That way you won’t need to feel guilty if you don’t cross them off.
Assign a time limit
Wherever possible set a time limit for every item on the list. Not just how long it will take but when it needs to be done. That way you can identify tasks that need to be completed before lunch or before you make dinner.
Re-visit and re-work
A to-do list should be a working document. Once written it should be revisited throughout the day. You can check off those items you’ve completed and reprioritise or reschedule those that remain. You can also cross items off that are no longer important or unnecessary or add any additional tasks that crop up during the day.
Keep it with you
How often have you made a to-do list at the beginning of the day and then totally ignored it? Probably because you left the house without it at the beginning of the day! To make sure that your list is where you need it you could use an app such as Evernote, Wunderlist or Microsoft OneNote. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, most smartphones have a built-in note function. If pen and paper are your thing, you can get some really pretty notebooks or pads specifically for lists. Faves of mine include ones from Paperchase for my UK peeps. Another option is a diary. And we all know there are endless options for those. Keeping your list with you wherever you go means you’ll get the satisfaction of marking off the items as you complete them. You’ll also have a visual record of your achievement.
Your to-do list can be a powerful tool for helping you to live a more organised life. Using these tips will help you to ensure that it is used successfully.