Why is it important to Manage Your To Do List?
I find that the value of a to do list is that it frees up mental capacity to solve the problems and execute the things on your to do list. Think about how much time in your busy day that you spend thinking about or remembering what you need to get done. How many times in a day do you have a couple of minutes but don’t want to start a project?
This is where a to do list is key, because you simply pick an item off your list that can be completed in the time. Get it done and mark it off!!
Pick a Place to Document Your List:
Many to do lists fail simply because you don’t have a consistent place to document your to do list. If you have one list in your phone, one list on a sticky and one list on a notepad that’s a recipe for failure. Personally, I prefer a bound notebook which you can find at a Staples or on Amazon. I keep this with me anytime I am working to use as a reference. Your list is no good if you don’t have it when you need it. Pick a place and stick with it.
Create a Structure:
Take a minute and decide how you want your to do list to look that will work best for you. Do you need a personal and business list separately? Do you like a table set up, or a traditional list set up. When it is done how will you mark it? How long will you let the list and mark ups get before you create a new list?
For reference I keep one list with business and personal combined. I use a dash (-) and the item. When I am done I mark an X through the dash. If an item is no longer needed I strike through it. Once my list and marks have taken up two connected pages in my notebook I create a new list with the days date and transfer the incomplete items.
Add as you GO:
Adding your tasks as you go will do two things for you.
- It doesn’t give you a chance to forget about it
- It gives you a visual representation of what you still need to do
(That means that you need to have your list with you, and a way to document on that list.)
Mark off & Update:
When you complete a task, mark it off. You will give yourself that little chemical rush that you get when you have a sense of accomplishment. You will free up your mind to solve problems and come up with great ideas.
When your list is full transfer over what isn’t complete and start again. I personally use pages in between the lists for notes and documentation. Doing this gives me the opportunity to revisit my completed tasks and notes later.
Whether you take some or all of our tips, if you implement a to do list you will see definite improvement in your time management and what you complete in a day. Continually documenting your success is a great way to help avoid complacency as well.