Smashing Your To-Do List. It’s All In The Details.
To-do lists, they’re a basic but powerful tool for anyone trying to improve productivity. Starting or running your own business will generate dozens of tasks every week. Creating a to-do list can help to organise these tasks into a set of daily activities that will help you accomplish your goals.
There are different levels of to-do lists. A scribbled list of jobs is a good start; it tells you what you have to do. But your to-do list can be much more than that. So we’ve put together some tips to help you master the art of making lists.
1. Organise It The Night Before
Make your to-do list the last thing you do before finishing work for the day. Knowing that you have your next day mapped out will help you to relax in the evening, rather than worrying about what you’ve got do and who you’ve got to call.
You’ll also be able to get started straight away when you return to work in the morning, a time when you’re at your most productive.
2. Be Realistic
Don’t fill your to-do list with projects like “build an e-commerce site” or “get a million views on YouTube”. Break your projects down into smaller chunks. The more achievable the items on your list, the more likely you are to get them done. Each item you complete on your to-do list will take you one stage closer to finishing your big project.
Remember to be realistic with your target dates and completion times too!
3. Big Jobs First
As we mentioned above, the best part of your day is going to be first thing in the morning. This is when your intensity, focus and energy will be at their peak. This is the time to dive into the larger and more challenging jobs on your to-do list.
Prioritise your tasks so that the most important jobs are towards the top of your list. That way, you’ll be reducing your stress by not leaving vital tasks until the last minute.
5. Target Dates
Assign each item on your to-do list a completion date. Working towards targets helps us to focus and you’ll find yourself putting in that extra effort to stay on schedule.
Give each job on your to-do list an estimated work time, that way you’ll see which jobs you can fit into your forty-five minutes before lunch, and which are better left until you have a few hours to work on them. This will allow you to use your time efficiently, avoiding a lot of stopping and starting.
7. Tick Your Tasks Off
It feels very rewarding to physically, or digitally, put a tick next to one of the items on your list. It’s a reminder that you have made progress, and will make you want to complete more tasks. Keep your completed lists, or add them to another document with completion dates. A record of your accomplishments will be evidence of what you have achieved, and will serve as a valuable reminder of all the hard work you’ve put into your project.
8. Reward Achievements
Reward yourself for accomplishing milestones on your to-do list. This will give you something to look forward to and give you further incentive to complete more of your tasks.
Try to make the size of the reward proportional to the goal that you have accomplished. A week long project deserves to have a larger reward than an article that took you a few hours to write. This will help you to keep hitting those big milestones.
Typical rewards could be an evening out with friends, or a night off to watch a movie
9. Choose The Right Tool For The Job
Make your to-do list work for you. It should make you more productive, not less. Find a tool that you are comfortable using. There are tons of apps and online tools out to choose from. Some might find these tricky to use but if you’ll be more productive with alerts on your phone and computer, they might suit you. Try some different options and see what works.
9. Don’t Procrastinate
The to-do list can be an excellent way of procrastinating. Be careful that you don’t spend more time on making lists than you do on getting stuff done. Occasionally, try to measure the effectiveness of your to-do list and either give it more or less time depending on how well it’s working.