Do you want to be more productive with your daily tasks? Writing an effective to-do list can make all the difference. How well written is your to-do list? Does it actually help you plan your day and help you prioritise the tasks you need to complete? Or are you left with a long list of tasks that you probably won’t do and you just feel guilty? An effective to-do list should help you, not set you up for failure.
The best to-do list will point you in the right direction every day and help you focus on the tasks that are most important. By achieving the tasks will aid you in achieving your larger goals too.
There are so many benefits of using a to-do list including:
- Improves your memory – your to-do list will reinforce the information, which makes it less likely that you’re going to forget something
- It boosts productivity – a to-do list allows you to practise prioritising the most important task
- Will motivate you – To-do lists are a great motivational tool and as you tick off your list, it increases your confidence in completing suture tasks.
To-do lists are a small practise, but can have a huge impact on your levels of organisation. If you want to be more organised, lists are the way forward. Being more organised can increase your chances of being successful in achieving your larger goals. Here are 7 ways you can write a better to-do list:
1. Choose The Right To-Do List Pad
The first step in making a better to-do list is deciding where to keep it. It is really important that you love the list pad or notebook you will use, otherwise you are far less likely to stick with it.
Many studies have shown that writing down your tasks with a pen, on a to-do list pad, actually holds you more accountable when it is your handwriting. The visceral pleasure of crossing things off cannot be underestimated! Bossbird has a beautiful selection of to-do list pads that will motivate you and inspire you to plan for success. I have used Bossbird to-do list pads for a while now and adore the design and quality.
The positive benefits of using a paper to-do list are:
- It builds memory
- Gives you screen free time
- You can buy and use pretty stationery
- You do not need to worry about a battery life on an app or signal problems accessing the app
- The confidence and motivation you get when ticking things off
2. Break Large Tasks Into Smaller To-Do Tasks
It can be easy to get overwhelmed when looking at a to-do list with big tasks. Breaking tasks down will help you to see larger tasks as more approachable and much more doable. When tasks are more manageable on your to-do list, it will stop you stressing and also procrastinating instead of achieving.
3. Write Tasks Down As Soon As You Think Of Them
When you think of a task, you need to do, it is important that you write it down right away on your to-do list. Taking it out of your mind and outing it on paper, can stop you dwelling on the task. It also means that you do not need to continuously think about it and you can focus on other things that may be happening. You will also not forget vital tasks as you will have made a note already. This particular practice can be a good habit in your evening routine, clearing your mind before you try and get some sleep.
4. Only Write Tasks On Your To-Do List Not Goals
What you write on your to-do list matters. You need to put tasks on you lists, rather than objectives and goals. You need to make sure you are aware of the difference.
Goals are your future achievements or desired outcomes. These are harder to quantify and putting such tasks on your to-do list would not be very effective as it is likely to stay on there for a while. For example, learn how to speak fluently in Spanish. Objectives are on the way to achieving your goals; these can be more specific and you are able to quantify them. An example could be: to be able to hold a 2 minute conversation about your favourite school subjects in Spanish. Tasks are the actions you take to reach your objective and these can be broken down into smaller actionable tasks. For example, a task could b to learn 5 new words in Spanish, or study Spanish for 45 minutes.
Do not get distracted by your overall goals when you are trying to focus on what you need to do that day. By checking your goals regularly can help you stay motivated to achieve your tasks to reach your goals.
5. Assign Deadlines To Each Task
When you are writing your to-do list, it can be beneficial to mark down the deadline you may have for each task. When you know the time frame you have to complete the tasks, you can then prioritise the tasks, so you do not miss any deadlines. You are also effectively planning out your week, which means you are practising good time management.
The benefits of prioritising your tasks:
- It reduces stress
- It boosts your productivity
- It keeps you motivated
- It helps you create time to check for any errors
Deadlines make it clear what you are expected to achieve and when. You take control of your work with no confusion.
6. Limit Your Daily Tasks
What is your daily task limit? It can vary depending on the type of tasks you have written down and how complex they are to complete.
Starting out by limiting yourself to between 3 – 5 tasks per day, can be a great way to focus on your most important tasks. You may find that it is already a lot for you to achieve in one day. By having a smaller number of tasks on your to-do list, you are more likely to finish them all. When you finish your tasks, the better you will feel about writing more to-do lists. That positivity and confidence can push you to move forward. I know that when I prioritise 3 – 5 tasks, I am often motivated to check off more tasks and actually end up getting more done. But it does mean that if I only get 3 important tasks done, it still means that I have had a successful day. You are not going to feel like you have failed.
7. Add Value To Your Tasks
Next to each of your tasks on your list, note down why each of the tasks is important. Adding a sentence explaining the value of completing a task, or defining why it needs to be done, can help you feel more motivated.
Often, to-do lists are too often just a collection of boring and sometimes even stressful tasks. Each day if you are reminded of the least enjoyable tasks, it can suck your motivation and inspiration out of you. If you reframe your to-do list to be focused around your bigger goals and connect these tasks to your bigger goals, they will feel less tedious and more motivating.
These 7 suggestions are easier ways to write a more effective to-do list, get organised and be the most productive with your time.
Do you use to-do lists? Do they make you more productive? I’d love to hear in the comments.