Today we are talking about falling in love…with your to do list. Sometimes we have a love/hate relationship with all of the tasks we need to accomplish. It’s great to have an organized way to track all the things you have going on and it’s even better to check them off when they are done! Still, it can be overwhelming to see everything you need to do or worse, … it’s upsetting to feel like tasks keep carrying over to another day and you aren’t making progress. The way to get back the warm and fuzzy feelings which come with being a productive goal getter is prioritizing.
Organizing your to do list is the first step to making progress and feeling in control of your time and your goals. Being able to easily identify your priorities (the real ones as opposed to the ones just masquerading as urgent ticking time bombs) you will feel less stressed, find it’s easier to focus, improve your overall productivity, enhance your time management skills, and achieve work-life balance. That’s a list to fall in love with….
Prioritizing in its simplest form is knowing everything you need to do and then ranking it in order of importance. Sounds easy, right? Not really. You play a lot of roles in your life: employee, supervisor, partner, parent, child, sibling, volunteer, friend. You have responsibilities in all of these roles and they may appear to compete with each other. So how exactly do you get it all done?
First, let’s talk about your actual to do list. Where do you keep it? On paper, in an app, an electronic document, in your head? Any way you keep your list is fine as long as it is not in your head. It takes too much brain power to keep everything you need or want to do up there without a back-up. Keeping an actual, concrete list gives your brain the ability to stop focusing on remembering tasks and start looking at how to get them done efficiently.
How you structure your list matters, too. I’ve seen people keep separate lists based on the roles they have in their lives. They have two lists for work: one for tasks as a supervisor and one for tasks as an employee. They have separate lists for things they need to do for the children and another list for things related to their spouse. While this sounds very sophisticated, it’s not very efficient. Tasks overlap our roles and who has the time to consult all these separate lists?
I’ve known others who keep lists based on location: a list for work, a list for home, a list for school. Again, we have tasks which need to be accomplished in more than one place. Where do you put the school work you’ll be working on this weekend while you’re home? Keeping multiple to do lists is cumbersome and requires extra work. You are one, complete person. You should have one, complete list. Why?
Let’s be honest, we are constantly getting new tasks as we go through our day. Your boss tells you to update a document, your partner texts you to pick up some dinner rolls on the way home, your child texts that they need their permission slip signed for the class field trip, your BFF sends you a DM to plan a girl’s weekend. Do you really have time to get the right list to add these tasks or would you rather just add it to your Main List?
Keeping one main list allows you to organize everything by tasks you need to do today, this week, this month, and someday. Your main list will allow you to naturally prioritize where you need to focus your attention.
Keeping and prioritizing your “to do” list is a great first step to getting your life and time under control. We’re here to help. Let’s schedule a FREE 30 minute session to discuss where you are with prioritizing and how we can support you with achieving your goals.
Here are more articles to help you improve your time management and productivity:
3 Ways to Improve Focus
How to Stop Procrastinating
Organized = Productive