The Power Of To Do Lists
Why do some people swear by to do lists being a key ingredient to their success? Some people love them, some people hate them. Why is that? I’ll dive into the key steps to manage an effective to do list so you can achieve more and feel good during your day!
We have CRM’s, ERP systems, online calendars, task management software and other software that has plugged into our daily lives.
But why do I still write a to do list on a piece of paper every morning when I start my day and swear by this old-school routine?
Because they work.
The power of a to do list can transform your focus, productivity and relieve stress as you get everything out of your head and onto paper. But there are some cardinal rules to ensure your to do lists are effective, and you end up managing them instead of them managing you.
- Always put the TOP3 items you are looking to achieve that day at the top of your list. A lot of times, less is more. If you focus on the key 3 things that will get you closer to your goal then you will feel like you achieved a lot more.
- Less is usually more, the magic rule is to not include more than 8 items on your list. Too many items can be overwhelming and can do the opposite of what we are trying to achieve here.
- Strike off each task as soon as you have completed them. The action of striking them off is rewarding and will help you keep momentum during your day.
- Balance your to do list with short term, mid term and long term goals to ensure you are not focussed 100% on the now and are also chipping away at that longer term activity that will also help you achieve.
- Have another list for your week which might be important to you but not in your day. You can revisit this at the end of each day and see if one of these tasks make the list.
- Keep your to do lists, so you can analyze your list at the end of your day and decide whether it is coming across or not. Taking 15 minutes at the end of your working day, each day is an important step of this. Choosing what you do and what you don’t do is just as important for the following day, and sometimes things we thought were important can change after a day or once we are “outside of that moment”.
- It’s okay to not complete everything on your list, roll over anything important to the next day.
If you feel that you are not achieving your goals or you fall of the wagon and need to get back to momentum, I always recommend starting with the item on your list that you most enjoy or is an easy win. Once you’ve completed that task, you will most likely fall back into momentum and be ready to tackle harder tasks.
On the flip side of this, tackling the hardest item on the list first thing in the morning before you have a barrage of distractions come up during your day is also a smart strategy. I try and get my biggest decisions for the day completed before 11am as I know I am less effective towards the end of the day.
Yes, you can write to do lists on a tablet, you can use software to manage these to do lists but personally I like a good old fashioned pen and paper because something magical happens when I have to write something down. When you are forced to put pen to paper you are forced to think more about what you are about to write and whether it should make your to do list.
I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions, feel free to comment below.