Task Inspiration

Creating an Effective To-Do List

To-Do lists…they can make life more manageable by helping us remember everything we need to complete. The catch is that To-Do lists can be a nightmare to properly create and manage. All too often we scribble an idea here or there and have a pile of To-Do notes rather than an organized list. Creating and keeping a proper To-Do list can help you to complete your tasks in a timely manner, relieve stress, and open up free time. Here are some tips for creating the best To-Do list for you.

1. Know what works for you. How you create and use a to-do list should be tailored by your personality. While many people use online organization tools, others still prefer to keep a physical list on paper. What you choose should reflect your daily routine and preferences. If you’re not online often, it may be best to continue carrying a list with you.

2. Use action verbs. Using actions verbs will help motivate you to take action and organize your To-Do’s. By categorizing your list with verbs such as “to buy” and “to contact,” you will have a better idea of tasks that you can consolidate and complete together.

3. Make time in your schedule. Make sure that you set aside time in your schedule to organize your To-Do list and chip away at tasks. You need to make time in your life to work on your To-Do list so that it doesn’t accumulate to an unmanageable level.

4. Limit yourself. When you have a long list of things you need to complete, it may be tempting to put the list aside rather than tackle a seemingly never-ending job. If you limit yourself to three or four tasks in a day, getting things done can become a part of your routine. Designating a specific amount of tasks to complete can also help you to feel accomplished when you are done rather than feeling overwhelmed by what is left.

5. Share your list. If you use an online To-Do manager, share it with loved ones who many be willing to lend you an extra hand.

1 Comment

  1. I always put a couple easy things at the top of my “to do” lists that can be checked off for “quick wins” to garner some momentum 😉

    Also, some line items are big, broad, all encompassing, and can be overwhelming. In that case, it’s best to break them down into smaller steps, akin to “What’s the best way to eat a whale? One bite at a time” logic. E.g. if the task is “clean garage”, it may be:
    – Remove everything from garage & sweep
    – Sort & organize tools, equipment, paints, chemicals, garden supplies,
    – Take all broken/old stuff to curb & schedule pickup.
    – Buy containers & shelving for items left
    – Set up shelving, containers, & put items back

    Lastly, people tend to tragically (optimistically?) underestimate the amount of time (and money) needed for a project….double your allotment.

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