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 used 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 without 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 can do it and how these tips all work together to ensure I stay on task every day.
HOW TO MAKE A TO DO LIST WORK
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 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 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. It is partially because 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
I am a visual person and why I don’t use apps. 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 are 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.
Different To Do Sections/Lists
Because most to do lists did not have everything listed that I needed, I made my own. You can find it in our store and get one you can use too.
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 on using a to do list. If I can cross through those three things, then 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 merely 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.
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.
Don’t create a to do list of 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 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, but it can also 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 overdo 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?