We all use to-do lists. But we don’t always accomplish what we write on them.
So why not learn how to?
A LinkedIn global survey found that 63 percent of professionals frequently create to-do lists, but only 11 percent of them accomplish everything they plan to do in a given workday.
And to me, this means only one thing: we all write to-do lists but in the wrong way.
So here are 4 great pieces of advice on how to write a better to-do list!
1. GET IT OUT OF YOUR MIND
Ken Zeigler, a productivity and time management expert, says:
“Allow your mind to be a strategic thinker, not a memory chip.”
We tend to store way too many things in our head, and as a result either we forget about most of them, or we end up feeling overwhelmed and we freak out.
But if we instead just write everything that comes to our minds down – to a portable pad of paper, for example, as Ken himself suggests – we’ll feel that mental clarity, that allows us to come up with more and better ideas.
Our brain has more power than we give it, sometimes.
2. DIVIDE YOUR TASKS
Now that you have all of your ideas together, it’s time to divide them into groups of similar tasks.
As Zeigler explains, this improves productivity.
“By working on all of the similar tasks, it will prevent your jumping from task to task and help you focus on one type at a time”
And I highly suggest Wunderlist to do this – which is what I use every day.
3. START WITH THE HARDEST
Identify your best-performing time intervals during the day and use those to accomplish the most difficult task.
Take advantage of your brain at his best!
4. SET DETAILS
As we said here you should always write an exact time interval you’ll need in order to accomplish a specific task and keep in mind the worst scenarios.
Also, write as many details as possible!
Not only details help you stay focused on your task – and nothing else – but are also the easiest way to avoid procrastination.
In fact, if your brain knows exactly what to do it will spend less time wondering, resulting in less time procrastinating.
“There’s a tremendous amount of research that points to the fact that if you decide when and where you’re going to do something, you’ll do it.” – Bregman
If items stay on your list for more than three days, you have three options:
(A.) Do it right away
(B.) Put it on your calendar for a specific time in the future
(C.) Delete it.
WHAT’S THE BEST FORMAT FOR YOUR LIST?
This is really up to you. Nobody can really answer this question but you, so keep testing as much as possible on every format or app.
However, here are some suggestions you can start experimenting with, including the ones I use every day.
THE APPS I USE:
SplenDO – I think this app is great especially if you’re trying to establish a habit. It gives you a “summary” of the activities you’re gonna be taking at the start of the day, and I think this really keeps you motivated.
Wunderlist – As we already said, it allows you to divide your to-do list into similar categories of tasks. And you can also share your lists.
Keep – I use this as a write-all list so that I can later batch tasks on Wunderlist. But however you choose to use it, it’s a great app overall.
Related post: I’ll be soon sharing my personal to-do list and how it turned me into a productive person – when I was more like a
OTHER RECOMMENDED APPS:
How do you set up your everyday to-do list? At the end of the day, did you actually accomplish what you wrote on your list?