If you’re like me your day is full of tasks that need to be done, things that should be done and some things that really don’t matter to much but if you can get to them, good. You’re also human and forget things,
I love To-Do Lists’s they literally make my day. They reduce my stress level, make it easier to prioritize what needs to be done and there is nothing more satisfying than stroking off something that is done! Oh man, I can feel the pride of a job well done now! I can’t wait to check off the “Create a Post for Blog” to do on my list. Ha!
I’ll be the first to admit though that they are not for everyone. Some people will end up getting frustrated when things aren’t being crossed off. They may even get more stressed out just by using them. Other’s won’t stick to them at all and then say they are ineffective. It does indeed take a certain amount of self discipline in order to stick to anything, including a to-do list!
Let’s Create Our List
Grab this to do list template to help create your own. You can use this, or create your own to make your list. I prefer to have something I can hold and touch as opposed to a digital list. On my paper you’ll find all kinds of added notes, extra to do’s that I gather throughout the day and sometimes even an inspirational quote or two to help me get through a rough work load.
Write it Out
This is the easiest part to creating your list. Write down everything that needs to be done. It doesn’t need to be in order of most important, or what you want to finish first. We have more of that down below. Right now we are just creating the list. If you have a large job break it down into smaller goals to achieve a bigger end with less stress.
Your list shouldn’t be longer than five tasks, and if it is you may be bottle-necking. Take a look at that list and see what could be passed on to another person.
Prioritize your List
It’s great to have a list that tells you what needs to be done. It’s even better to be able to look at that list and see what the important items are so you can easily tackle the bigger issues.
I like to use a 3 X system. Look over your list and determine which items are most important or those that have a deadline coming up. Give those 3 X’s.
I find it easiest to pin point the most important points first, and then I move onto the least important. I give the tasks that really don’t need to be done unless I have time to get to them 1 X, that leaves everything in between and they get … you guess it … 2 X’s. This way I can easily see what needs to get done and move through my list more efficiently.
At this point you can always re-write your list to make the most important at the top and the least at the bottom but I find this is just time wasting you have the X’s that will help you clearly see what needs to be done … do those.
But wait, you have three tasks that have 3 X’s … they can’t all be done at the same time so now what? Well it’s your list, it doesn’t need to be a 3 X system, try adding another X … if you have three but one definitely needs to go before the others, give it 5 X’s, the next 4 and then the least important of the most still has it’s 3 X’s.
You can break down the other categories in a similar way. I like to use colour and high light my list as well with each group of tasks that are similar one colour and so forth. Still if you have trouble keeping to a list the best thing to do is remember KISS – Keep it Simple Silly (I would never call anyone stupid)!
It should also be noted that priority changes. You may need to re-adjust as the day goes on.
Brainstorming Your List
This is really where you take your list to the next level. Don’t just write what needs to be done. Take that extra minute and make a small plan for each task you need to complete. Where applicable of course, if you’re putting Check Email on your list that’s pretty self-explanatory.
As a good example, if you want to create a blog post for a certain blog don’t just write down “Write Blog Post” Instead take a minute to map it out. For today I have on my list, “Create Blog Post on To-Do Lists” I then jotted down the points I wanted to cover in my article. So today when I sat down to write this, it took a lot less time. I looked at my to-do list and I already had the points I wanted to include saving me time right now.
When you look at your to do’s you should also make note of how much time it will take to complete the task, and not to mention how long it will take you to finish the task. At the end of the day if you have 15 minutes to go before you run out the door and still have two tasks to complete choosing the one that is 10 minutes and getting it done would probably be better than taking 15 minutes to start a project that will take much longer.
Using Your List
This part should be the easiest for all of us. Look at your list, take the most important task and do it. Focus on only this task and get it done. When you have finished check it off, stroke it out, give yourself a smiley face sticker. Whatever little reward you want to do at the end of the task is up to you. I personally love running my pen through a freshly finished task.
So, tonight and for the next 30 days why not take some time to plan your day with a to-do list. Look at it as a mini project in itself. Take the time to really see what needs to be done and work your way through it. Don’t stress about what doesn’t get done instead take pride in knowing you finished the important tasks and did them well.
Remember, no matter how well planned out your day is the inevitable will happen. Something unexpected is bound to pop up. How you handle these changes is just as important as how you handle your daily tasks.
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