I am all about the to do list. The thing is, it doesn’t seem to work for everyone. However, if you try my simple trick, you too can get use to using a to do list!
Many people want to use to do lists or they do and they just are not effective. The reason is that you aren’t using them the right way.
I’ve been using to do lists for more than 20 years. I honestly can’t even imagine trying to get anything done with out one next to me. My to do list keeps me on track. I never have to worry that I did not take care of something I may have forgotten.
There are lots of tips and tricks that people follow to ensure that they use a to do list in the right way. The thing is, those ideas may not work for everyone.
I’ve found a way to make sure mine works every single time. While you may not be able to implement every step, I will share how I am able to do it and how these tips all work together to ensure I stay on task each and every day.
Write it down. My best trick for using a to do list is to write it down. I am not even talking about using an app. This is good old fashioned paper and pencil (or pen).
Why don’t I use an app?
The answer is simple. By writing it down, it puts it not only on paper but it is like I am writing it into my brain. The act of writing something just helps me remember it so much better than if I typed it up on an app.
I’m not saying apps do not work. I have tried them and they do not work for me. This is partially due to the fact that I still love the old school paper method However, I know myself and writing it down helps me remember it as well.
Keep it visible. This really ties into the app and why I don’t use them. My to do list is on my desk. It is where I can see it all day long. It is not disappearing into the background on my phone. I don’t have to remember to pull up the list on my phone when I need to see what I need to do next.
The paper and pencil is right there. As things come up during the day, I can add to my list for today, or, I can add to a list for later in the week.
(Click image to download your free form)
Different To Do Sections/Lists. I actually use the to do list form that I have available for free for all of you to use. The reason this list works is that there I included sections. I have one area for my daily goals, another for notes and yet another for that day’s events. There is even an area where I can jot down things I need to do later in the week (so I don’t forget when I work on my next days’ to do list).
For some people, having one to do list for the week’s tasks, another for the month and another for just today works well. Some will want one full list with everything jotted down to see in a single view.
Three Daily Must Dos. Every day, I find three things which are my “I-must-do-this-before-I-go-to-bed-tonight” items. That is where I start my focus in using a to do list. If I can cross through those three things than I know I was able to accomplish my goals for the day.
That does not mean I don’t have other things I really need to do as well. Not in the slightest.
It simply means I prioritize my to do list every day. There are always only a few things that I make sure I focus on before I tackle other things on my list. I often put at least one of my least favorite tasks in my must do list so that I can get those done.
I end every day with a feeling of accomplishment by doing it this way.
Small tasks. If you write down on your to do list – clean the basement – that may be overwhelming. Instead, break it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. For instance, you might turn clean the basement into 5 tasks:
1 – clean up the basement shelves
2 – clean up bins/memorabilia
3 – clean up under the steps
4 – take items for donation to the donation center
5 – sweep and put items back away
Now, you can focus on just one task every day and get that basement cleaned up by knowing exactly what you need to do each day.
Time management. Don’t create a to do list with 40 things to do in a single day. There is no way that you can get it all done. Instead, limit your list to the few things you know you can get done by adding in a time for each one.
If you know that you need to sweep up the garage and that will take 30 minutes, jot that down. It not only helps you know how long it may take, it can help you better plan your day. If you have only 15 minutes before you need to make a call, you know that you can’t take on the 60 minute task, but you could take care of the one that will take you just 10 minutes.
Don’t over do it. Your daily to do list should allow time for you to do other things which might pop up. For instance, you might plan on running a quick errand, but an accident you come upon might add another 20 minutes to your time. Be willing to be flexible and allow time in your day for the unexpected things which might (and often do) pop up.
What tips do you have to help you tackle your daily to do list?