If you’re like me, you love to plan and write so many to do lists but I think generally, people struggle with drawing up an effective list and letting it aid you in getting things done throughout the day.
Below are a few hacks to help you use and conquer your to-do list.
Step 1: Prioritize
I think it’s safe to say that it is inevitable that we will have so many responsibilities in a day.
As long as you’re an adult, you always have something to do.
But, I think the key to writing an effective to do list and also having a productive day is to prioritize.
Prioritization is key.
Before you write out your to-do list, ask yourself ‘What matters most at this present time?’
‘What is urgent?’
For you, it might be working on your assignment due in a couple of weeks or for another, 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 and you might be genuinely trying to hit those goals but, with working smart, it is narrowing down your priorities and 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?’
And, 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 hustle smartly.
Step 2: Visibility
Now, I’m someone who writes like a million and one to do lists and 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 and you’ve left your to-do list or your notes somewhere, it can be annoying.
But, recently I started using the ‘Mover’ designed by Bravestorming and it is a cool magnetic memo brick that is movable; you can attach the memo brick to your computer.
The aim of the ‘mover’ is 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 and I’m able to 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 which I can carry around with me and keep all my important notes.
I would recommend you check out their products if you would like to keep an organized to do list or if you are someone prone to forget the things you set out to do and you need to have it visual and by you.
Step 3: Write Down Specific Goals
Personally, I have found out that the more specific my goal is or my to-do lists are, the more likely I am to get it done.
And besides, there is little or no motivation when you pick up a generalized to list and you 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 whereas, although this might be your ‘big goal’, you might want to write down a more specific or should I say 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 and 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: Tick Things Off As You Get It Done
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 as opposed to keeping all your ‘to do’s’ in your head is ideal.
And when you do follow #tip 1 by prioritizing your responsibilities, you’ll find out you lead a productive life and you are able to tackle the most pressing things of the day.
Yes, there will be times when you can’t get all your ‘priorities’ done.
It happens to the best of us but, just having those urgent responsibilities clearly defined and at the top of the list is one step to getting them done.
So, do take it easy on yourself.
I think the aim every day 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?
I would love to know, drop your thoughts in the comment section and let’s keep the conversation going.