How effective is your to-do list? Does it help you plan your day? Does it nudge you to prioritize the right tasks? Or is it a never-ending list of things you feel guilty for not having done yet and now you’re not going to do any of them? A good to-do list should serve you. You should not be at its mercy. A practical to-do list sets you off in the right direction each day and helps you focus on the tasks that are most important to you. With the right strategies, a to-do list can help you achieve larger goals, too. Here’s what you need to know to make your to-do list work for you.
1. Choose the right app (or paper)
The first step in making a better to-do list is deciding where to keep it.
2. Make more than one list
Make more than one to-do list. All great to-do apps let you make multiple lists. Start out with a few that are easy and obvious: work, personal, and household.
3. Assign due dates
Any time a task has a due date, add it. Due dates help you prioritize.
4. Revise Your To-Do Lists Daily
Start every day by throwing an eye over your list for the day and assessing whether it’s reasonable. Then, revise it.
5. Limit yourself to 3-5 tasks daily
What is your daily task limit? It depends on what kinds of tasks you write down and how difficult they are to complete.
6. Put tasks on your to-do list, not goals
Put tasks on your lists, rather than objectives and goals. To do that, you have to know the difference between them.
7. Keep goals and objectives separate
You should know what your goals are, but you don’t need to write them on your to-do list.
8. Look at your to-do list often
A looked-at list is a used list. Look at it each morning to mentally prepare for the day
9. Jot down tasks as quickly as possible
When a new task pops into your head, write it on your to-do list as quickly as possible. Adding tasks as soon as you think of them prevents you from dwelling on them. Once it’s written down, you don’t need to remember it anymore.
10. Make your to-do list scannable
If you look at your to-do list often, you’ll quickly realize how helpful it is to see what you need at a glance.