Do you often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have? Do you face a constant bombardment of looming deadlines? Do you sometimes just forget to do something important, and people end up chasing you down to get it done?
Yes, there are a bunch of fancy tools and methods to get stuff done and be effective… but maybe after all bells and whistles and fads have passed, one time management method will remain tried and true.
All of the problems I listed can be solved by constructing a simple "To-Do List". To-Do Lists are prioritized records of the tasks that you need to carry out, ranging from most important to least important. Keeping effective To-Do lists ensures efficiency and organization, and is often the first personal time management breakthrough for people as they begin to finally take control of their time.
Yes, To-Do lists are very simple, but they are also extremely powerful, both as a method of organizing yourself and as a way of reducing stress. Often problems seem overwhelming, or you have a seemingly huge number of demands on your time. This can leave you feeling out of control and overwhelmed. Maybe the answer is a simple To-Do list.
Preparing a To-Do List
Start by writing down the tasks you need to accomplish for the day/week, and if they are large, break them down into their component elements. If these still seem large, break them down again.
Once you’ve done this, run through the tasks allocating priorities, from urgent to trivial. If too many tasks have a high priority, run through the list again and demote the less important ones. Try to limit your jobs to a maximum of 10, any bigger and it will appear daunting.
Using Your To-Do List
Everyone will use their To-Do lists differently, depending on their line of work; if you are in a sales-type role, a good way of motivating yourself is to keep your list relatively short and aim to complete it every day.
In an operational role, or if tasks are large or dependent on other people, then it may be better to keep one large list and 'chip away' at it.
It may be that you carry unimportant jobs from one To-Do List to the next. You may not be able to complete some very low priority jobs for several months. Only worry about this if you need to - if you are running up against a deadline for them, raise their priority.
If you successfully use To-Do lists, you will see the following benefits:
- You’ll remember more.
- You’ll tackle the most important jobs first
- You won’t waste time on trivial tasks
- You won’t let unimportant jobs stress you out.
- And most important – YOU GET STUFF DONE!
In conclusion, prioritized To-Do lists are a time-tested, rock-solid ways to be efficient and manage your time. Give it a try!