If you’re like me, you love to plan and get things done by tackling your to-do list!
Generally, people struggle with drawing up an effective list and letting it aid them in getting things done throughout the day.
Creating a to-do list is like having Hermione Granger’s Time-Turner – it helps you maximize your productivity by magically adding more hours to your day.
Below are a few hacks to help you use and tackle your to-do list.
Step 1 to tackling your to-do list: Prioritize
I think it’s safe to say that it is inevitable that we will have so many responsibilities in a day.
You always have something to do as long as you’re an adult.
But, I think prioritizing is the key to writing an effective to-do list and having a productive day.
Prioritization is key.
Before writing your to-do list, ask yourself, ‘What matters most now?’
‘What is urgent?’
For you, it might be working on your assignment due in a couple of weeks.
It might be spending an hour of your evening with your family.
We all have different priorities.
Find out yours and aim to work on it each day.
Also, this is where the dividing line between working hard and working smart comes in.
Having a random set of responsibilities on your list and trying to get those things ticked off can be seen as working hard.
You might be genuinely trying to hit those goals.
Yet, working smart means narrowing down your priorities to what matters most; finding out what actions will yield the most results.
What step or strategy will get the most clients?
What action will yield a higher turnover for your business?
Which revision strategy will help with exam preparation?
So, the next time you write your to-do list, ask yourself, ‘What is the most urgent thing I need to get done?’
It doesn’t have to be a ‘big’ goal, and I think this is where the whole idea of being realistic and practical comes in.
You might have guests coming over for the weekend, and your priority for the day could be deep cleaning the house, so you see, it differs from person to person.
The key is to hustle smartly.
Step 2 to tackling your to-do list: Make your list visible
Now, I’m someone who writes a million and one to-do lists.
What happens is that they are all over the place, and I end up forgetting the things I need to do.
Take, for example, grocery shopping.
I write up my grocery list, and I leave it somewhere.
I end up going to the grocery store and realizing, ‘Snap! What else do I need to get, where’s my list?’
I’m sure I’m not the only one who does this.
Or you could be working on a project at work, leaving your to-do list or notes somewhere.
It can be annoying.
Recently, I started using the ‘Mover’ designed by Bravestorming.
It is a cool magnetic memo brick that is movable; you can attach the memo brick to your computer.
The’ mover’ aims to accelerate people’s thinking in a physical and concentrated way.
The memo brick has a variety of templates for personal use.
It is perfect for young professionals to middle-aged entrepreneurs.
So whenever I’m working on my computer, my ‘mover’ is attached so I can clearly see what I have to do.
I can stay focused without constantly trying to remind myself of what else I need to do.
They also have the ‘Moverbook’ where you can stick all your to-do lists and important notes.
Thus, when I’m on the go, I would have my mover book to carry around with me and keep all my important notes.
I recommend you check out their products if you want to keep an organized to-do list or are prone to forget what you set out to do.
Step 3 to tackling your to-do list: Write Down Specific Goals
I have discovered that the more specific my goal or to-do lists are, the more likely I am to complete them.
Besides, there is little or no motivation when you pick up a generalized list and feel overwhelmed with where to start.
An example of a general and vague ‘to do’ would be ‘Write two articles by 6 pm or make more profit today.’
This can be overwhelming.
Although this might be your ‘big goal,’ you might want to write down a more specific or smaller action steps to achieve that goal.
It could be ‘select a theme for the article, write a list of topics that interest you or write the introduction of two articles.’
So, with this goal narrowed down, you get to know exactly what you have to do.
There is more motivation to get the work done since there are clear, ‘smaller’ action steps you can take.
It links back to the principle of working smart.
Step 4 to tackling your to-do list: Tick Things Off
What better feeling!
What better motivation do you need to keep working on the other things you have to do?
Ticking things off your to-do list gives you that feeling of ‘yes, I did that!’
Another thing is that it helps you gain clarity on what it is you have accomplished and what else needs to be done.
That’s why writing out your list instead of keeping all your ‘to do’s’ in your head is ideal.
When you do follow #tip 1 by prioritizing your responsibilities, you’ll find out you lead a productive life, and you can tackle the most pressing things of the day.
There will be times when you can’t get to everything
It happens to the best of us, but clearly defining those urgent responsibilities at the top of the list is one step to getting them done.
So, do take it easy on yourself and do your best to get things done.
I think every day’s aim should be productivity, learning how to work smart, and asking yourself those important questions outlined in the earlier part of the article.
Which step resonated with you the most?
Drop your thoughts in the comment section, and let’s keep the conversation going.