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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.