Are you really getting ready to read an article about to-do lists? That sounds boring. Fortunately, you are about to learn how to save hours of time and get more done.
After this, you will be the hero of your own life, and have more time to do those tasks you have been putting off (like matching all the clean socks that have been piling up in the bin).
Here’s a better, bolder way to write your to-do lists.
First of All, Toss the Apps (Yes, I Just Said That)
Most of the productivity tips that you have read this year probably tell you to use a task management app to help you stay focused.
I am going to go out on a limb here, and say that this is bad advice.
Here’s why you should consider tossing the software, and getting yourself a plain old notebook:
● Using a paper list will free up your computer screen for any work you need to do online.
● The act of writing will help you remember what you have to do.
● You will get to store a visible archive of what’s been completed to motivate you – in task management platforms, your list items will disappear as soon as you check them off.
If your task management platform seems to be working well for you, especially if you have it connected to your virtual calendar, take this advice with a grain of salt.
Task management platforms work for some, but they are not ideal for all. If you are not completely in love with your to-do list app, get rid of it. Paper still works.
Group Your Lists by Priority, Not Category
Imagine that you have three phone calls to make, five shopping list items, and six chores at home. You group those tasks into calls, shopping, and chores, don’t you? Well, stop.
There is another way: Instead of grouping to-do items by category, you should group them by import.
If you’re going to the electronics store, and you need more than one item, pick everything up at once, to avoid going back, but know whether it’s more important to have a phone charger or cat food.
When you have to make four phone calls, make sure you’re not starting with the easiest one.
If one duty can wait, it should be lower on your list, not grouped with everything that is crucial to complete in an urgent timeframe.
Try this outline:
1. Top Three (three tasks that are the highest priority and need to be done asap)
2. Finish Today
3. Finish This Week
4. Low Priority
Tip: Write out a new list every day, based on what is leftover from the previous list.
How to Set One Day of the Week for Unfinished Tasks
If you’re setting your goals by priority and not category, you may be inclined to leave a lot unfinished, defeating the purpose of even having a to-do list.
But, don’t worry – you can still get them done. Just set aside one day a week for anything that you didn’t get done throughout the week.
Think of it as a vacation from the really stressful stuff, and also treat yourself to something nice on that day.
When everything on the unfinished list is finished, splurge on dessert or a pedicure – whatever it is you gift yourself with, make sure that it is in it’s own, separate rewards section of your list.
Here’s Why You Should Love Your Tools
Your notebook and pen or electronic device (should you choose to use one) should be something that you love.
The cover, binding, pages, pen, and home screen should be items that actually spark joy in you.
When you love your to-do tools, you’re more likely to feel good about getting things done, and you’ll be less stressed in general.
Stress is the cause of 60% of all human illness and disease and could literally be killing you. So, even the little things are important.
Get out and buy a notebook or day planner that is beautiful rather than just using post-it notes.
Now you have a new way to keep track of your daily tasks.
● The new, bold way to write your to-do list could be to actually get back to how it used to be and avoid apps.
● When you write, start with high priority at the top, and work your way down – stop separating your lists by category.
● One day a week, spend some time working on the unfinished tasks from the lower-priority end of the list, and reward yourself when you complete everything.
● Splurge on a beautiful journal, expensive pen, or a new case for your phone – whatever you have to do to make sure you love your tools.
Following this advice will lead you to a more productive and fulfilling life.
Written by Janice Kersh
About the Author: Being a freelance writer, Janice Kersh has to be a productivity guru to complete the work for her clients on time. That’s why she’s always looking for the new ways to manage her time effectively. At the moment, Janice is engaged with the Essay Writer project.