Are you a serial procrastinator or an in denial dilly-dallier? If you’ve been carrying around the same to-do list for over a week now then this article is for you.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get productive. Here’s how you can totally smash your to-do lists this week. Let’s go.
Create your top three
Once you have your list completed, highlight three things that you absolutely must achieve by the end of the day in order for it to be considered a success. These are usually slightly larger tasks. This will stop you from taking the easy way out and only completing the simple jobs first. Don’t kid yourself, get stuck in.
Estimate to your heart’s content
Beside each task write down roughly how long you think that it will take to complete it. Smaller tasks may take just a few minutes while larger items on the list could take an hour or more. During the day you might have some free time in between meetings or projects. When you find yourself at a loose end, consult the list and see which items you can tick off considering how much time you have on your hands.
Check your list every morning and every night
In the morning, look at your to-do list to see what you need to achieve that day. This will help you to create a rough schedule in your head. Before you go to bed re-consult the list. Tick off everything that you have accomplished, re-prioritise whatever is left. Finally, create a new to-do list for the following morning.
We all deserve a little treat every now and then. If a well-deserved rest in between tasks isn’t a big enough incentive to finish a chore then why not give yourself a reward instead? It could be something as small as your favourite snack or a phone call to your best friend. Anything that will lift your mood and give you the boost you need to tackle more things on your list.
Separate your lists
Have different lists for your home and work life. When you’re at work you shouldn’t be thinking about the laundry you have to do or the present you need to buy your grandmother for her 80th. Likewise, when you’re at home you need to switch off from your work commitments. Keep your lists in separate places, for example, my personal lists are handwritten in my diary but my work to-do lists are saved electronically to my laptop.
Have a list buddy
Sharing your to-do list with a colleague is a great way to collaborate. Using a team to-do list will help you to prioritise and delegate tasks. Online to-do list apps like Trello are a great way to keep everyone in the loop. They will also likely foster a healthy sense of competition to complete tasks on time.
Break it down
If you’re having trouble completing big tasks break them down into smaller more manageable jobs. For example, if your list says create presentation it might be better to break it down into four or five smaller tasks like research, bullet point main ideas, write slides, practice etc.