Do you often feel messed and dizzy because of too many pending works? Do those deadlines often make you see stars over your head every next day?
In this fast going world, increasing competition and hectic day-to-day life, it becomes almost impossible to say “Yes, I have no pending work”. So, has the God mistaken with his calculations while allotting just 24 hours for a day? Or you are the only one who is selected by the nature itself to give the weight of extra work?
Well, neither God nor nature has done any injustice with you or anyone. People who walk freely with a smile of ‘no tension of pending jobs’ have also the same ‘24 hours’ of day. What’s different with them is their smart move towards managing the various tasks.
Here you are the secret of their smile- a “To Do List”. Yes, it is that simple. Let’s learn here to make a perfect to do list with 21 successful tips to end with a productive, effective, efficient and successful time and task management to organize your works. Enjoy the easy to follow and straight forward tips with examples on what to do and what not while making an optimized to do list.
1. Select Medium: Choose What’s Convenient for You
Several To Do List formats are available on net to follow, but research says that if you write information from your own hand, you tend to not forget it.
However, if pen is an old fashioned tool for you now or you have started thinking… “Oh’ so do I go to a tailor to get my dresses altered with a pocket to carry that paper of to do list everywhere?”
Then forget all what research says on hand written notes and go to any app that offers you a shape and size that you like. Or simply make one on MS Excel for creating the personal to-do list format.
2. Layout of To Do List: Make Sections
Make five types of lists giving them unique names:
Dream To Do List: For long term goals
Purchase a guitar
Monthly To Do List: For less prior jobs
Sign up for an online language learning class
Buy curtains or a bed-sheet
Weekly To Do List: For tasks to be done in coming seven days
Get a birthday present for friend
Get stitched dress from tailor
Daily To Do List: Checklist for today
Call aunt to wish her happy anniversary
Meeting with a project manager
Hit To Do List: For high priority works
Pay for electricity bill
Meet friend’s sick father
3. Keep Your To Do List Updated
Keep shuffling your tasks from Monthly List to Weekly to Hit list as per the priority of a work. Don’t miss to update them on daily basis.
4. Prioritize Your To Do Jobs over Not To Do Tasks
Don’t make a mile long list of jobs that makes you tired and frightened to walk for. Learn to prioritize them and keep them in the right list. You cannot do everything and all the things today. So, relax and make the lists mindfully.
Yes, we have endless jobs to done, but all of those jobs are not essential to accomplish right now. Some are important and some are vital. A simple to do list can be powerful and successful, only if it is well-prioritized. The effectiveness and productivity of this task management depends on how well we calculate the importance of any task.
Before keeping a task in a category of Hit list, Daily list or monthly list, think twice: When to do?” and analyze the importance of a task before including it in your task list.
This way you never miss to meet the MITs, that is, Most Important Tasks.
5. Keep it Smart and Smiling: A Simple To-Do List
Remember, To Do List is not a magic wind that will make you a superman. Means don’t make a hypothetical list that can’t be achieved. Don’t add all the things in Hit List or Daily List. Set the targets that are realistically possible so that you can enjoy that smile of satisfaction when you check it back in night.
6. Stay Calm and Easy: Tasks to Keep Prior Considering them “Most Important Tasks”
There are some small, simple, ordinary looking tasks that are important like anything and above anything. Don’t ignore them.
Remove wrinkles of your bed sheet
Wash dinner dishes
Take proper five course meal diet, without skipping breakfast or lunch or, someday dinner
Including stuff like brushing teeth might give you a laugh if you find it silly to mention, but trust me these smaller things may perk up your day if crossed in disciplined way daily, and might send you to dark too if not accomplished timely.
They are important to make mind space. These are those dump files that consume space and affects the processing of your brain. Just do them to clean up your brain from the wastage.Example:
If you are making a presentation and some tea is spilled on table which is clogging your mind, just clean that table first; doesn’t matter how important that presentation work is. It might seem less important but is most important to keep your subconscious mind empty from these bugs.
Sometimes, you spend more energy in avoiding something. Where accomplishing what you have been avoiding takes lesser energy.
7. Divide and Rule: Break Intimidating Tasks
Some tasks are born to spoil such to do list.
Example of these tasks that threaten you like a monster:
Work on research paper
Manage the shelf with a pile of unfolded clothes
Clean the fridge
Do what the British kingdom did with Indians- Divide and rule. Break your work into pieces.
Write research paper’s first half of 13th chapter (If marking it for Tuesday, mark the second half of chapter for Wednesday in Weekly List)
Manage the two upper shelves of unfolded clothes (Mark it in daily list and leave two lower shelves for weekly list)
Clean the fridger (Mark it in daily list and leave other racks for weekly list)
You can reduce your fear or laziness this way, keeping your life easy and managed.
8. Be Specific and Précised with Your Task List
Write exact and achievable.
For example, don’t write “Clean India”.
If you are a social worker and working on a cause based on increasing hygiene level of a country, write: “Clean Street-2 of Adarsh Nagar’s Sector 12”.
9. Make Your To Do List Informative, Thus Powerful
Mention the complete information about a job in your To-Do List.
For example: Instead of writing just “Call Mr. Ronal”, write his name with contact details. It will save you from scrambling for his number at the time of calling him, leaving you with no excuse for not completing the job on time.
Other profit is, for getting any such information you will scroll your To Do List, which means your eyes will go through other tasks as well, giving you a reminder for them.
10. Turn Your To Do List into a Schedule: Play Smart
When you are done with making your to do list, mention the specific time, date and place with the task. It will convert your to do list into a schedule, indeed into a smart task management tool.
For Example: Clean inbox while traveling for London (4 to 5 pm, Tue, Dec 20)
It will save your time and keep you focused. Think, what is the rationale of allotting extra one hour to clean your inbox when it can be done while travelling with listening to good music tracks.
11. Figure Out the Bugger
Figure out those tasks which are pending from a long or which tend to get pending always. Analyze and check where the bugger is and find solution to remove the hurdle or fear or whatsoever that stops you. Attach a note of solution with that task in your to do list.
Example: If you are escaping from calling your uncle because he sucks with his exaggerated style of talking and drags meaningless gossips, then find a solution of it instead of not calling him.
For example: say your mom to ring the bell in between on your sign. Say you uncle that someone is on door and you need to go. That’s it. You called and saved yourself too. (I know it is not a good example, but sometimes you can’t help it.)
12. Tempt Yourself: Make a Tricky yet Playful Deal
There are some tasks that remain pending for no reason. You don’t find a solution of it too, because that does not exist. You just don’t like some things to do. But unfortunately they are important too. In such a case, tempt yourself and make a deal with yourself.
Example: If that chapter 4 of your physics book invites your sleep, be firm that you will not play your favorite video game or mobile game until and unless you remember that chapter. You can make a deal too that you will get to play a chance if you remember five pages. And next chance on another five pages, and so on.
The trick is to make your weakness a plus.
13. Challenge Yourself
Be a sport and challenge yourself for the tasks that fear you. Sometimes, take challenges publically too, So that you will feel accountable for completing that job.
The best way to maintain it is, whenever you remember of any task; mark that one immediately on your list, instead of leaving it for later. Otherwise, you can forget too or updating your to do list will also become a task to mention on it.
14. Maintaining a To Do List is also a Job!
The best way to maintain a to-do list is, whenever you remember of any task; mark that one immediately on your task list, instead of leaving it for later. Whenever you accomplish a task, tick it on your list. Otherwise, you can forget too or updating your to do list will also become a task to mention in it.
Still spare some time to update it because this is what going to save your time unimaginably, leaving you with a hassle-free and productive life. It can be morning time or travelling time or the time before you sleep in night.
The best time to review or update a to-do list is the night time when you are relaxed. If you update it before you sleep, you wake up with clarity next morning for your targets. Your day leads to right direction from starting.
15. Adore the Tick MarksDon’t delete old list of accomplished tasks. Those tick marks are not just the signs of completion, but a reward of satisfaction that are worth adoring. Motivate and boost yourself seeing them and crave for ticking other pending jobs too.
16. Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Arrange and prioritize your work in a way that you finish an important work way before its deadline loom around. Don’t schedule a work for the same day of its deadline. Be proactive. And if you are doing it early, don’t be careless and let anything intrupt you, especially those Whatsapp pings or Facebook messenger. Take priority as ‘priority’. Set boundaries.
17. Be Flexible: Say ‘No’ to a Tight Schedule
Don’t make a very tight schedule. It might panic you. Give some breaks or gaps between two tasks, giving yourself some space to breath. Sometimes you get unexpected guests too like headache, overflow of tank, or over-boiled milk, etc.
To overcome, compensate, or manage such bugs, the gaps will play a backup plan for you. And your other schedules will also not suffer.
Life is unpredictable and however, we are not machines. In that break, if you have nothing, listen to music, enjoy game, have a cup of coffee, adore beautiful nature or pursue any of your taste or hobby, or just hold your cushion. In short do anything that brings smile and make you feel relaxed and at ease.
18. Take Fresh Starts for Better Task Management
If you fail with any of your agenda, don’t feel sad, pessimistic or discouraging. Don’t allow any failure let you down or go over your head. Be optimistic and with zeal about taking a fresh start with better approach. We are humans and we have our own limitations. Take the things easy and going. It is never late.
19. Be Strategic: Quantity or Quality?
Are you confused with quality and quantity? It is not necessary that A To Do List that makes you complete many tasks, is productive too. Save yourself from ticking on many tasks and still living a low- impact day. Keep your To Do List strategic to make it impactful. Don’t choose too many ‘easy to complete’ tasks to make you feel good about doing a great job of meeting the deadlines.
Almost every entrepreneur knows the value of To Do List and most of the entrepreneurs maintain it, update it and carry it as an essential too. But about 80% of people do not use it effectively. To make it productive and focused, stop using it for measuring the self worth. Ask to yourself, ‘Am I running behind sense of accomplishment?’, ‘Am I avoiding taking harder challenges or tough jobs?’ and judge to ensure that you are not wasting time to finish menial chores. Remember, “Good job doesn’t mean finishing too many tasks”.
20. Have patience: Stop to Scroll Your To Do List All the Day
Are you scrolling your To Do List all the time and stressing out to tackle next job #07 while job #06 is not ready to finish? Take a breath and relax. Be patient and stop wasting time in tracking your list jobs all the day. Such tendency reduces your mental stamina as you start sucking your energy in tension while feeling bad. Negative thinking holds you back and stops you from working efficiently. Have confidence and keep going with positive spirits. Remember the story of tortoise?
21. Don’t Make Your To Do List a ‘Torture Tool’
If you have a habit of taking too much burden and later blaming yourself to be a failure, break this habit now. Where this tinny paper list tool can work as magic, it might leave you to doom too, if taken in a wrong way.
First, don’t make it for self-flagellation. Make it easy and simple, yet strategic, meaningful and impactful.
Second, don’t let it ruin your positive spirits if you fail to accomplish all the tasks. Never let a failure rule over your head. Failure just lead you to take a fresh start, a better start, a right start, a chance of improve your old mistakes. That’s it. It is not a tool of judging your capabilities. Don’t let it drain your energy, indeed rise with double energy to get success this time.
If you know your prior work and doing that, still a work due for weekend has become an annoying bee, first, do something to dump it.
Write all those jobs in a paper that are visiting your mind again and again. And dump them in your drawer. Now forget them. Listen to your favorite track or a fast number and enjoy its every beat to the fullest. Now get back to refocus on work that you had mentioned on priority in last night, keeping all worries at bay.
I recommend stress-busters as refueling agents that play catalyst. Enjoy them.