Creating a workable “to do” list

Are you ready to maximize your time and overcome the ‘overwhelm’?  Creating a workable “to do” list is the key to good time management.

If you find yourself…

  • Always running late
  • Franticallymoving between tasks
  • Unable to decide which task is priority
  • Not knowing where to begin

Then you might find these simple steps helpful in prioritizing your “to do” list and creating a system that works specifically for you!

The Brain Dump
First, capture your list by doing a “brain dump,” which is writing everything down that you can think of that needs to get done.  You can also collect all those pieces of paper that you have notes on and put them on one list.  Or, walk through the house and make a note of things that you see that need attention.  Don’t get overwhelmed with the list as we will address how to prioritize it.

How to Create a List
Discover the method you find most helpful in creating a list.  This might be using a planner, or just notepaper.  Some do better with electronic note taking, such as cell phone apps, or emailing a list to themselves.

Remember: what worked for you in the past may still work now.  Do not feel pressure to use a system that your body is pushing away from.

For example, if you are a verbal processor, you might find using the voice memo on your phone helpful to dictate a list.  Some apps to use are (mind mapping software), Wunderlist, and  Some even take photos with their phone of their post it notes stuck to the wall or a picture of their to-do list so they always have it with them.

Delete the Unimportant
Now that you have created your list ask yourself what your goals are and what on the list can be deleted.  Sometimes we feel the need to add tasks to our list because of what others expect of us and some of these “shoulds” don’t need to be on the list.  Is it a task that really needs to be done?  If you delete it, will it really matter?

Get Your Priorities Straight
Scan your list to select the tasks that need to be done today.  Identify the important and urgent ones and write a separate list for getting them done today.  Select only 3-5 tasks that are doable. You can do this by highlighting the important ones.  Once you have your daily task list items selected, you will want to prioritize them according to when they need to get done.

A few examples of how to do this would be to number them according to importance, put an icon beside the most important, color code them, or use arrows.  Don’t get stuck here; just make a decision and take action!

Go Get ‘Em, Tiger!
Remember, this is a learning process so don’t beat yourself up over getting stuck.  Reflect on what worked and what didn’t and then tweak your system to better suit you.

Some tips for making sure you follow up on your to-do’s is to schedule them in your calendar and allow enough time to complete the task also minimize interruptions by finding a quiet place to work or let others know not to disturb you.

You’ve got this! Now, go conquer those “to do’s!”


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