If time management is important to you, use one of the best management tools available; the to-do list. This is one of the most frequently used took when it comes to managing time and energy. The concept is simple: keep a list of all the things you need to do. But actually using a to-do list in a way that helps you reduce stress and get more done is actually quite involved.
Have a system to writing your list. Here are a few techniques you might want to adopt with your to-do list.
1. Create Different Lists for Different Places
What’s the point of having actions you can only perform at home on your to-do list when you’re at work? Likewise, what’s the point in having things you can only do at the grocery store on your list at work? Having all your to-dos in one list crowds the list and causes subconscious stress. It also reduces your sense of accomplishment, as you’re always looking at a big list of things you haven’t finished.
Instead, separate your lists. Have a list for home, a list for work, a list for shopping and a list for any other major area of your life. That way, when you’re at work you’ll only be seeing your work tasks. At home, you’ll see your home tasks.2
2. Remove or Store Any Non-Action Items
Any item that doesn’t involve you taking direct action should be filed away. For example, let’s say you have on your to-do list to plan for that women’s retreat early next year. However, you won’t know exactly what airline you want to take or hotel to stay in until you get more detailed information. You’ve already put in your request for time off, so all you need to do now is wait.
There’s really no action for you to perform at this time. Instead of having this item weigh down your list, just put it in a separate folder. This folder can store all the projects in your life that you aren’t actively working on. You can have a major list at the front of the folder of all activities where you keep an eye out for the times you need to pull the event out and take action.
3. Things You Can’t Move On Yet
If you’re waiting for someone to get back to you on something, something to arrive before you can move forward or another task that you can’t move on now, put that task in a separate folder. Again, you don’t want to be staring at actions that you can’t do anything about even though you don’t want to forget about these either.
4. Review Your List on a Daily Basis
Spend 10 minutes each morning reviewing your to-do list for the day. Add or remove anything that should be added or removed. Look through all of the folders you put aside to see if there have been any changes to any tasks.
These few habits will help you keep your to-do list lean and efficient. You will be able to quickly glance at your list, identify things that need to be done and do them. At the end of the day, you can look at all the things you’ve checked off and feel a sense of accomplishment.
What’s Your Experience
Have you used this valuable time management tool? If so, what has been your experience with using a to-do list? What have been the advantages and disadvantages? Do you have any tips you can share with us about your to-do list experience? Just comment below to let us know.