Get Realistic with Your To-Do List
My days are always spread thin. Wearing more hats than you can count most days. More often than not, if you try to manage it all, a hat (or multiple hats) will topple. Even with effective systems and all of the technology that is available – when you are juggling too many hats, something is bound to give.
I am a fan of lists, the old school ones, spiral notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils. Do you ever add something to your list even if you already finished it! It is empowering. And, striking off a task with a brightly colored highlighter is refreshing. I create my own structured list each day, but, I am slowly falling in love with these printables, and will be buying the Day Designer once I finish this year planner.
Here is how I manage to write (and achieve) a realistic to-do list:
- Determine your goal for the day/week
No goal for the day or week? You can forget accomplishing anything. A goal helps to narrow down your main objective and ensures you are only working on productive tasks during business hours.
- Narrow down your top three
Is your list always longer than three? (I know mine is) Select your top-three, non-negotiable tasks for the day. These top three are must do’s and should not be carried over the next day. Once you have completed these top three then move to the rest of the list.
- Understand time
Do you have a tendency to get caught up in the task? Do you tend to linger while researching or creating content? Use a time-tracker, like Toggl, to track how much time you spend on certain tasks each day, week. After a month, evaluate where you are spending the most time. What is your major time-suck?
Once you evaluate your average time spent on most tasks, ensure you are only delegating that amount of time on each task on your to-do list. Don’t forget to set an alarm too!
- Always prepare for tomorrow
At the end of your work day, write your to-do list for the next day. What did not get done today? What are your new non-negotiables? Write down now, so when you start working tomorrow your day is already planned.
- Find what works for you and implement technology.
There is no one size fits all. You may prefer to go strictly digital with your list. So, Asana, ToDoist or Remember the Milk may work better for you rather the the old school version of notebooks/pens. Find what works for you and stick with it.
How do you create a realistic to-do list? Do you have any tricks to help you stay focused during your office hours?
Amy Edge is the owner of a virtual business management company, AmyEdge.com, that strives to ease the stress of mom entrepreneurs by offering support to tackle their ongoing to-do list. Her sweet spots include, email marketing, website design and social media strategy and implementation. You can connect with her at www.amyedge.com