Being too ambitious can sometimes become too overwhelming. You try to do a hundred things in a day and end up doing none.
Although I am interested in learning more about Productivity from always, the interest has grown from the time I have started working on my own ideas. That’s when I got to know how taking control of your own time can change things for you.
Making an effective to-do list is one of the ways which can help you achieve this.
In this post, you will get to know the secret behind making an effective to-do list. The points to keep in mind while creating your own to-do list, this and everything else will be covered in this post. So, stay tuned.
How to make an effective to-do list?
#1. Choose a medium.
Pick up a medium, whatever suits you and your needs. Be it technology or a pen-paper based, choose what works best for you and can be easily managed.
When it comes to technology, there are plenty of options out there for both Android and iOS users. Some of them are ToDoist, Any.do, and Things. ToDoist is my personal favourite. And for pen-paper based system, you can use sticky notes or a notebook that is handy enough to be taken anywhere.
#2. Keep it simple.
When I choose my to-do list system, this is one thing I look for – how easy it is to work around it. Because the complex my system is, the harder it will get to stick to it with time. Keep things simple to make them last longer.
By ‘keeping simple’, what I mean is how easy it is to make entries in your system, or how easy it is to make changes to it. Choose your medium wisely so that you need not face difficulties later.
#3. Start small.
Now that your system is all set up, you might want to add all the tasks in the world to it. But that’s not how it works.
One of the benefits of using to-do lists is it helps in building new habits. But if you are trying to build 10 new habits from day 1, you will not be able to go too far with this. Take a single step at a time. Start with one habit, stick to it for at least a month. And by the end of the year, you would have build 12 new habits and that too without failing. Isn’t this great?
So the key is to start small.
#4. Use action words.
Add some kind of call to action to your tasks.
Now, what is a call to action? Let me explain.
A call to action is a phrase that explains what actually needs to be done when you are reading the phrase.
In the above example, the first sentence is not giving enough information about the task to be done. But the second sentence properly explains what needs to be done, and also the deadline for it. I hope you get the point.
#5. Focus on your MITs.
MIT stands for Most Important Task.
Focus on your tasks. And the top three in the list will be your MITs. Well, I like to go with the threes, you can choose any number you want.
Now invest the most productive part of your day working on these MITs as they are the most important tasks for the day. To me, the most productive part of my day is when I am the most focused on my work, when there are least distractions, or when I am in my active mode.
#6. Break it down.
As I have already mentioned in my previous post, if a task looks too hard to achieve, break it down into smaller tasks. For example, decluttering my room looks so overwhelming to me. So I break it down into smaller tasks like segregating the trash, organizing the cupboard, cleaning the writing desk, and finally making the bed. That is how I do not feel burdened because of it and I do the task as well. It works for me this way.
#7. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Failing is a part of our journey to any destination. The only thing we should keep in mind is that it should not stop us from trying again.
If you are going to give a shot at making a to-do list for yourself, presume that you are going to fail at the first try. But don’t give up. Because this is how we operate. And that takes me back to my third point, start small. Start with things like making your bed, drink 3 litres. of water every day, or working out every day. And once you start getting used to the system, then include your ‘big tasks‘ to it as now you know how to work around it.
To-do lists can prove to be your best friend when it comes to increasing productivity. You need to figure out how to work with it. But always remember, there is no one system that can work for each & every one of us. Find the one that works for you. Experiment enough with yourself and your system.