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20 Jan

A little over ten tips on how to succeed with your to-do-list

Datum: 2010-01-20 09:49

An effec­tive way to eas­i­ly get the right thing done at the right time is to use a to-do-list where you write down every­thing you have to do and check them off the list once you have com­plet­ed them. 
As I see it, the great­est ben­e­fit with this is that you no longer have to keep every­thing in your head and instead you can relax, know­ing that every­thing await­ing com­ple­tion is on the list.

But, aren’t we quite a few who have decid­ed to start mak­ing to-do-lists, got it going and after a while noticed that all the things we don’t have time to do are what’s on the list since we are only doing the things we are try­ing to remem­ber? Where and in what for­mat you choose to keep your list is cru­cial as to how well it will help you.

Here are ten, no, eleven tips to how to be suc­cess­ful with a to-do-list that works in the long run.

  1. A long life

    Rather than writ­ing a new list every day, keep your list alive over a longer peri­od of time. Then you won’t have to write down things you wrote down last week, but did not have time to do or fin­ish. You also avoid for­get­ting to write down things this week that you remem­bered to write down last week. Long sto­ry short, a list that you keep over longer peri­ods of time will be man­aged with less effort.

  2. Eas­i­ly accessible

    You have to be able to eas­i­ly glance at the to-do-list with­out hav­ing to wait for it to start up”. If you have to wait a while or if you need to scroll” to find the list in a menu, you will soon get tired of it.

  3. Keep it comprehensible

    Make sure the list is easy to get a grip on. You should be able to eas­i­ly get an overview of what is on the list and what needs to be done. And if you in addi­tion to that can see the to-do-tasks grouped in cat­e­gories (client, objec­tive, project etc.) it will give you an even bet­ter overview of the situation.

  4. Sort­ing it

    To some peo­ple it is a big advan­tage if it is easy to sort the list accord­ing to many dif­fer­ent con­cepts, for exam­ple, dead­line dates, con­texts (which means the con­text in which the task can be com­plet­ed), con­tact per­son, project, etc.

  5. Easy to edit

    You should be able to add, change and delete tasks on the list effort­less­ly. If it feels dif­fi­cult to add new tasks, you will soon quit and instead find your­self try­ing to keep them in your head again. If it is hard to hide or delete tasks that are com­plet­ed, you will grow tired of hav­ing to ignore” every­thing that is irrel­e­vant on the list.

  6. Portable

    The list should be portable. It has to be easy for you to bring the list with you wher­ev­er you go. Except for into the bath­tub. Or maybe in the bath­tub too, come to think of it, if you tend to get good ideas while in it.

  7. Use con­texts

    Tag the list using con­texts. If you cat­e­go­rize every sin­gle task by where you can do it (for exam­ple, on the tele­phone, at a com­put­er with an inter­net con­nec­tion, at the office), you will have no prob­lem find­ing the tasks that you are able to do where you are sit­u­at­ed at the moment.

  8. Be con­sis­tent

    Write down every­thing that takes more than two min­utes to com­plete, so you can be sure that every­thing that needs to be done actu­al­ly is on the to-do-list. Things that can be fin­ished in less than two min­utes, you will do right away.

  9. Be spe­cif­ic

    When you write down a task, make sure you clear­ly express what needs to be done. Also make sure that it real­ly is a task that you can fin­ish in one go and not a project that actu­al­ly con­sists of sev­er­al tasks.

  10. Inte­grat­ing work and your pri­vate life

    Keep all to-do-tasks on the list, your pri­vate mat­ters as well as those which con­cerns work. Your good struc­ture will do you good on your spare time as well. You can trust the sys­tem only when every­thing that needs to be done is on the list.

  11. Final­ly, do it your way

    Take impres­sion and good advice by con­sul­tants and oth­ers, but choose a set­up that is well suit­ed to your habits and your par­tic­u­lar way of work­ing, so that you look for­ward to work­ing with your list. Make sure it looks nice and neat, if you val­ue appear­ance. If it turns out that your way still isn’t work­ing out as you want­ed it to, go back to the good advice you got, choose a new form, and try again.

How do you do it?

Have you had oth­er expe­ri­ences or have your own tips regard­ing to-do-lists? 

Feel free to leave a com­ment below, so that we can share our expe­ri­ences with each oth­er and others.