Imagine how satisfying to check off everything on your to-do list 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? Are there other tasks to complete 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. Add paper and documents to your tickler file. Stow items you need to return in your trunk so they're with you when you're near the store.
Re-evaluate when something remains too long on your to-do list. Maybe it's something that you don't really need to do. Maybe it's a large project you should break down into small specific tasks.
Managing your to-do list can bring order to chaos.