By definition, a ‘to-do’ list is a technique for organizing and defining the tasks one needs to complete within a specified period of time. Writing a list is a convenient way to compile information, and takes the guesswork out of having accurate recall. These lists usually take form with an assortment of errands and projects that are thrown together in one large chunk. The idea behind the list is efficiency, but not all ‘to-do’ lists are created equal.
The first step to creating an effective ‘to-do’ list is to find out what you are realistically doing with your time. Write out a list of activities you partake in on an average day. Then estimate the amount of time you spend on each item. For the next few days, pay attention to the clock to see how your estimates and actual time match up. This exercise allows you to judge and adjust how you spend your day. Once you become more efficient with your time, tackling your ‘to-do’ list will become a much simpler process.
Now that you are making the most of your day, it is time to organize your task list. The key to an effective ‘to-do’ list is categorizing your responsibilities properly. One way to do this is to assign each activity a high, medium, or low priority level. Ask yourself combinations of questions like: “Is this task important?” versus “Is this task urgent?” and “what is both urgent and important?” This will allow you to separate the vital, time-sensitive projects from the trivial errands. Breaking those big jobs down into small, manageable pieces makes conceptualizing the final product much simpler. With these few adjustments to your time and ‘to-do’ list, there is nothing stopping you from productively reaching your goals.
This week, we’re going to offer some ways to leverage available technology to plan your day. Stay tuned!