The right way to make to-do list.
Written by: Suman Shekhar Sarangi
Most successful people plan what they need to achieve.
Everyone has goals but some seem to accomplish far more than others. This is mainly because people who accomplish goals at a higher rate use a systematic proven method of goal setting and goal attainment.
❝The first 20% of the time that you spend planning your goal and organizing your plan will be worth 80% of your time and effort required to achieve your goal.
According to the “Zeigarnik Effect” study, it had been demonstrated that the act of planning activities through to-do lists actually reduced the burden on the brain by freeing it from having to worry about unfinished tasks.
If you figure out how to craft your to-do list in the best way for you that actually makes you want to work, then you can make yourself a way more productive human being throughout your days.
Now let’s look at multiple ways to simplify our to-do list in a more efficient manner.
Section #1: Simplify To-Do List for better Productivity
1. A Safe Space:
There’s no value if your notes or your to-do list are written in some old notebook that you never actually refer to. Try having a safe space for all the different kinds of notes that you write.
A safe space is a home for your notes, to-do lists, etc.. It could be an app (like Trello, or Evernote) or it might be a journal that you always have with you.
2. Start With Your ‘MIT’
Start making your to-do list with the 'most important thing' (MIT). It should be something that’s contributing to your long term goals.
It's the task that you always seem to put off, but you know it needs to get done if you want to get where you want to go. Even if it were the only thing that you completed doing in your whole day, you’d still feel happy for yourself.
3. Keep Your List Simple
Making a long to-do list and writing unrealistic goals would lead you to nowhere. Keep it short and simple.
If you keep your daily to-do list short and sweet, then it is much more likely that you’ll actually want to work more.
4. Keep It Clear
Always keep the items in your to-do list clear and actionable. This is probably the biggest thing that stops people from actually getting things done and resulting in writing inefficient to-do list items.
This is an example of a terrible to-do list. The list is absolutely vague and there’s no clarity in it.
A clear, detailed, and more-actionable to-do item is more likely that you’re actually doing it. Like this one-
5. Call Your To-Do List
Before creating a task, ask yourself, “Are any of my to-do tasks helping me reach my long-term goals?”.
Because if they are not driving you to your longterm goal, then it’s just basically a list of things that are helping you keep up with your daily grind and nothing more.
Section #2: Types of To-Do List
If you’re struggling to work with your to-do list, then you might need to re-organize your to-do list according to your working ability. Consider trying one of these to-do lists for better productivity.
1. 1-3-5 list
If you always plan too much or try to do too much, then use the 1-3-5 list to limit yourself to a more realistic amount.
Consider the following image for example (Source: DBD). The 1-3-5 method requires you to plan for 1 big thing in your list, 3 medium things, and 5 little things that you'd accomplish by the end of the day.
To know more about the 1-3-5 list, click here.
2. Task-Based On Your Energy Level
If you have a tendency of working best at certain times, then organize your tasks by how much energy they take so you could know what to do when.
Consider doing those tasks first that demands high energy because usually, we tend to have high energy in the morning.
Consider this to-do list as an excellent example that we found on EnvatoTuts.
3. Urgent-Important Quadrant
If you want to cut something off your list, then group them by urgency and importance to figure out what matters most right now.
This image right here from Inc will help you understand this concept better.
If your days always seem like they’re getting away from you, then assign each task a block of time on your schedule and always remember the Parkinson’s law.
It says that - ❝ Work expands the time allotted so give yourself a time limit. This technique will build a sense of urgency in you to get more things done.
Section #3: Bonus Tip
Do you ever fight with your to-do list?
The trick to make your to-do list stop fighting is to verberize it. It means adding a verb to every item on your list. Adding a verb can totally trigger you into action.
Section #4: Conclusion
A to-do list keeps us focused on the important things the entire day and helps us to not overlook tasks and also increases our efficiency in completing tasks. If you’re not super productive every day, that’s okay. Take it easy.
❝ What you do matters a lot more than how much you do or how well you do things.
Finally, figure out which to-do list benefits you, use it and get your work done every day!
P.S. It’s my hope that during this period of uncertainty, we lean into our creativity, awakening our spirit so that we feel more deeply alive.
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