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Using a TO-DO List for Better Productivity

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”.

-Abraham Lincoln

With our busy lives, it is sometimes difficult to get everything done. And when we do, it is often not what really needs our attention. One of the best tools of time management is a To-Do List. Organizing our tasks makes life a bit more manageable. Checking things off a list gives us a sense of completion and a better idea of what remains to be done.

“I don't need to write it down, I will remember.” Nobody can remember everything. The average short-term memory can hold up to 7 pieces of information at the same time. But only for about 20 seconds! To-Do Lists actually allow us to forget, and un-clutter our minds!

To-Do lists help us to be more productive, stay focused and not procrastinate!

So maybe now you are wondering what kind of list is most effective and how to start?

First, write everything down. Break down larger tasks into sections. For example, if you are having a party, create the categories of tasks to be done, and then individual items to be done for each category.

Once you have everything written down, prioritize the list. Mark the most important as number one. This should be something urgent and/or important, and so on down the list to the least urgent/important. By prioritizing we eliminate doing the easiest tasks first, which often times are the less important ones. Also, organize your list in order of what needs to be done first. Are there things that need to be accomplished before you are able to do something else on the list? Getting a passport photo is necessary before applying for your passport.

Give estimate times to your tasks. That way you can effectively add a task to your calendar based on how much time you need and have. Have a list for home, and one for the car.

Schedule tasks on your calendar! Look at your list and see if there are things that naturally go together and schedule those together. For example, errands that need to be done on the same side of town.

Schedule tasks on your calendar! Look at your list and see if there are things that naturally go together and schedule those together. For example, errands that need to be done on the same side of town.

Post-it Notes: Do you like jotting things down on a post-it? Have several around the house.When you think of something that needs to be done jot it down and put it in a notebook.

When it comes time to make your To-Do list, go through the post-its and create your list. The key is to have all post-its in one place, not randomly all over the house.

Choosing the most effective To-Do List is a personal preference. Some people like the “paper and pencil” method and others like everything digital. You may be a wife, a mom, a volunteer, and an entrepreneur, etc which often requires us to have more than one list to use depending on what we are working on.

Take a look at some of these options and choose what fits your personality best.

Do you like cute and fun? Create a template and print it out whenever you need it. Some lists will have blank lines and some, like travel, will have printed items that never change.

DON’T FORGET the taking care of ME list: It is important to take some “me” time once in a while. Jotting things on this list that sounds delightful is a great way to get you through those crazy days. This is not a list to be neglected!

Or are you a basic “pencil and paper” person?

Personally, I just love to cross/check something off my list. It feeds my adrenalin and motivates me to move on to the next thing on my list.

Periodic List: This list is for maintenance that is usually done at specific times of the year.

TIP: Whatever list you have, spend a few minutes each night editing your list.

Make a point to start your To-Do lists today. Put all your tasks in one place, prioritize them, and be on your way to a less stressed, and more efficient and organized life!

Are you tech savvy and do better with everything on your phone? One advantage of using an app is the ease in editing. No scratching and rewriting. Changing priorities can happen easily with a click. If this is you, check out “Get the job done with these To-do list apps.

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