Wouldn’t it be satisfying if everything on your to-do list was checked off each day? To-do lists are an invaluable tool to encourage focus and get things done.
Best practices to manage a to-do list could help you end your day with a shorter list than you started with.
Have one system to capture your tasks. Use what you are comfortable with, whether it’s electronic or a paper list.
More important than the format is having your master to-do list in one place and incorporating its use into your daily routine.
It must always be with you so that you can add a task when it arises.
Be specific when you add a task to your to-do list. Instead of saying “Call John” it’s better to say “Call John to schedule a meeting on the 5th regarding new logo, 202.555.1212.”
Prioritize tasks as you add them to your to-do list. Does it have a deadline? How long should it take to complete? Do other tasks need to be completed before you can start this one?
Review your to-do list at the beginning of each day to determine the top 3 tasks you need to complete. Take a few more minutes at the end of the day to plan what’s next and make sure you’re on track.
Organize the supporting material required to complete a task so you have it when you need it. Paper and documents can be added to your tickler file. Stow items to be returned to stores in your trunk so they’re with you when you’re in the area.
Re-evaluate when something remains too long on your to-do list. Maybe it’s something that you don’t really need to do. It also could be a project that needs to be broken down into small specific tasks.
Managing your to-do list can bring order to chaos.