By Diana Beckford, InterCHANGE People Development Associate 

Managing to-do lists 

It’s easy to get completely obsessed with our to-do-lists, in fact, it can take as much time preparing that list as trying to achieve the tasks that we’ve added to it! In all likelihood, we’ve added many more items to the list, when there was originally only one, just to make the list look bigger, this way we get to feel that we have a very productive day planned. 
 
But by this very action, we are they are breaking one of to the major rules of prioritising – Keep It Simple and Straightforward. 
 
Now, you may have a very well prepared and organised to-do-list but what is the possibility that you will get them all done? When you haven’t been able to cross off everything on that list, you end up feeling frustrated about your productivity throughout the day. 
 
When prioritising, think of it this way – the smallest list is the best list. The fewer things you have on your list, the better. It is not a sign of productivity to have large amounts of items being carried over day after day. 
 
An ideal day is one were there’s just one or two items. 
 
The same goes for the items on your list. For each item, keep it simple. Write down each item as a completed action. This tells you when the action is finished and you can then cross it off your list. 
 
Take this same approach with your system of prioritising. If your system of prioritisation is quick, simple and easy, you’ll wake up each day and take just a few minutes to put your list in order. Then, you can have time for a cup of coffee before you get started, and still get everything done! 
 
So, let’s summarise:- 
 
Get control of the ‘perfectionist’ in you and see your ‘to-do-list’ as a tool to use, rather than a work of art! 
Use your list as a template for productivity at the start of your day 
Remember a cleared list improves your sense of achievement, so keep the numbers on your list to a minimum, avoid roll-overs, which is a sure sign of procrastination 
Keep each task simple and straightforward, remember to ‘cross-off’ as they are completed 
Use a simple system for prioritising the tasks on your list each day, e.g. ‘grouping tasks’ or ‘numbering system’ and aim to tackle the most difficult ones first 
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