Most times, we make up our minds to do a lot of things. And we have a lot of things that we have to do, daily. But then, when we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we just forget what we wanted to do. We do not meet our daily target and we get annoyed. Trust me, that kind of frustration is nerve-wracking.
This is why you need a To-Do list. And you just snorted. No annoying piece of paper peeking out of my purse, thank you. I can organize my day just fine, thank you. All of these are some of the many excuses we give as to why we don’t create to-do lists. Some of us create to-do lists when we are planning for an event and we just stumble through the rest of our lives, every day. That’s not a pretty sight.
Why do we hate To-Do lists?
♠ We think they make us feel like we’re getting old
Hilarious, isn’t it? But nobody likes to feel like they can no longer remember things as quickly as they could in their early years. But To Do lists serve the opposite. They serve as a reminder of activities that are already programmed in your subconscious. That’s all.
♠ We think they take away our flexibility
“I can’t be flexible because I have to follow some annoying piece of sticky paper”. That’s not true. To-Do lists offer you a greater deal of flexibility than working without them. That way, you won’t feel guilty when you hit the club with your friends. You’ll feel better because you have had a productive day, especially when you finished over 70% of the items on your list.
♠ We never seem to completely finish the list
While this is true, the focus should be on completing the most important tasks on the list that day. That way, you don’t feel guilty if you don’t score a 100% when you are carrying out your assessment. A simple trick to completing your list is to prioritize in order of importance. That way, you finish important tasks first and any leftover tasks can be carried over till the next day. Amazing, right?
Why do I need a To-Do list?
♠ It keeps you organized
Say, you’re a real estate agent and you’re showing a few houses the next day. A To-Do list helps you to organize all the information related to the houses and clients you’re showing them to. This presents you as an efficient, organized individual and may just help you in closing a sale. Just think of the commission that comes with that!
♠ It helps you prioritize
Sometimes we get caught up in the nuances of some small tasks and forget the most important ones. This often ends up in feelings of frustration, annoyance, and just the tiniest shred of guilt. A To-Do list helps us prioritize our tasks for the day in order of importance, from the most important to the least. That way, we are rightly focused and put our energy into good use.
♠ It helps you delegate
A To-Do list, because of its prioritized arrangement, helps you to know which tasks you can possibly carry out by yourself and the ones you will need help with. This gives you room to breathe and prevents that feeling of overwhelming helplessness.
♠ You feel good afterward
Completing your To-Do list gives an enormous satisfaction and a boost of confidence in your abilities to complete tasks ahead of time. And you can go ahead and give yourself a treat afterward.
How to create a To-Do list
Yay! I’m convinced. Now, how do I create one? First…
♠ Pick a medium
if you’re a bibliophile, you’d probably choose a beautiful, leather journal to write in. If you’re the opposite, like me, and need to move around a lot, you’ll probably choose to use the notes in your smartphone. There are also apps that are wonderful bits of help in creating To-Do lists.
♠ Create a list of what needs to be done
This is pretty self- explanatory. Outline everything you need to do that day, do not leave anything out, not even the mundane ones.
♠ Keep it simple
Your To-Do list shouldn’t look like the memo for a top-secret spy mission. Impossible to understand. Merely glancing at it will make you tired. Instead, break down the tasks into smaller units. This will help you to be more specific and direct in your actions. For example, instead of writing ”stop by the supermarket”, you could write ”get milk, juice and eggs from the supermarket”. You will find that you won’t spend as much time in the supermarket and you will be able to resist impulse buying. Amazing!
♠ Write out the important tasks first
Do not put the important ones at the bottom of the list. Absolutely not. They should be right on top of your list. Seeing them there will be a constant reminder of how important it is to get them done.
♠ Do the silly stuff to get motivated
Seemingly silly tasks like doing the dishes, sorting the laundry, and others should be done when you start feeling lazy. Fulfilling them gives a sense of productivity and the right attitude towards facing the other items on your list.
♠ Set a time limit for each task
I can’t stress enough how important this is. You do not want to spend the entire day on one item, trust me. Fix an estimated time for each task and also give time breaks between each task, say, 15 minutes between each task. This will help in case things do not go as planned.
♠ Stick it where you can see it: as you read it
Exactly where you can see it within a five-second search. This could be the home screen of your computer (my best) or smartphone, or as a clip on to your files. It could also be a post-it on the refrigerator or a sticky note in your binder. Or you could set a reminder on your phone. Thank goodness for technology!
♠ Make a new one every day
Yes! Each day demands a new list. So get right to it when you wake up. And unfinished tasks from the previous day can be slotted right in with the new ones.
There you go! Your own To-Do list, without any hassle. You’re on your way to superhero standard, trust me.
Also Read: Eleven Habits of Successful People