It’s so easy to write a ‘to do’ list; I mean, everyone can do it. But knowing how to write an effective to do list is key, since this is what increases productivity and gets those things checked off! Here are my top 5 for creating that successful list:
Keep it short and sweet
It’s so easy to have big expectations and over plan your day. I think we’re all guilty of thinking (and hoping) that we can fit more into our already busy schedules. But, packing too much in only needs to disappointment and feeling unproductive. Be realistic with your goals. Our List It Planner is purposely designed to hold no more than 3 ‘top priorities’ (things you must do before the day is over) and 10 normal ‘to do’ tasks. The intention is that you won’t plan too much and can focus on the items at hand. An overflowing to do list is only going to be counterproductive (and let’s face it, who feels motivated staring at something totally unachievable).
Prepare ahead of time
I typically spend my Sunday’s planning – it allows me to plan for the week ahead without the distractions of clients emailing me, my phone ringing, or feeling pressured to meet deadlines. A clear mind is key. Use the time to really divide out your tasks and identify room for extra to dos, should they pop-up during the week (and they usually do!). You’ll see we even have space to ‘plan for the week’ assigned every Sunday to help you stick to some sort of schedule. Did you know? Every minute spent planning saves you 10 minutes in execution. When you have a list, you have a track to run on.
Prioritize your list in order of importance
Mark the important items (that you can’t finish the day without) at the top under ‘Priority’. We only give you 3 for each day; anymore is just going to cause unnecessary stress. Start with these; you’ll feel better knowing that your ‘priority’ items are all marked off by 12:00 PM and you can focus on checking off those other to dos.
Break down larger projects, into smaller (and more manageable) chunks
It’s so easy to just write ‘Website Design’ down on the list, but you won’t feel like you’ve accomplished much by the end of the day, nor does it give you a clear direction. Instead, list out the stages of the project so that you can define what needs to be done. Your procrastination will thank you later (I promise!).
Start your day with the list
Now you’ve given your day structure, you can use it to stay motivated and inspired. Start checking off those ‘to do’ items first thing in the morning. You’ve got this!
What’s your favorite way to plan? We’d love to hear your process.