I don’t know about you. But I cannot live without to-do lists. But I’m not your average to-do lister. I have a notebook app full of lists, physical paper notebooks full of lists, and sometimes… not kidding… I have a list for my lists.
Phew! That’s a lot of lists.
But I’m learning that just writing something down, doesn’t mean it takes priority. And I can easily fall into the trap of copying the same tasks from list to list with no real plan or motivation to complete them.
That’s why it helps to re-think your to-do list and make one that actually works for you.
Here are some strategies for smarter to-do lists and being more productive.
One Minute Rule
When you come across a task that needs to be done that will take under one minute to complete, you do it right then and there. So it never actually goes on your to-do list at all. See, we’re already decluttering that list.
3 Item List
PsychCentral.com suggests keeping your to-do list to just 3 items per day. Wait, what? If I had just three things to do each day, I would be in heaven. But they’re not saying that’s all you need. They suggest keeping a secondary, ongoing list of other tasks coming up that you need to schedule later on.
Write Action Focused Items
Also from PsychCentral.com is a nod to productivity guru David Allen, who suggests writing your tasks as more specific action items.
For example, instead of “find movers” try “call mom and ask her to suggest a mover.’” One way to keep a check on this is every time you write down a new to-do, ask yourself: “What is step No. 1 to get this task done?” Step No. 1 becomes your new to-do.https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-write-an-effective-to-do-list/
Prioritize & Categorize
One of LifeHack.org‘s suggestions for tackling your to-do list is to break up your tasks into what’s most important.
Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down. For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/why-lists-dont-work-and-how-change-that.html
This concept was a game-changer for me. Let’s face it, don’t we all write down tasks we know deep down that we have no intention of completing that day… or that week.
So those extra tasks are just cluttering the list, cluttering our minds and zapping all the satisfaction we could feel by actually completing the list.
That’s why I created a new kind of to-do list, that you can see below, that prioritizes and categorizes the most important goals I need to achieve now and ones that I can do after completing the most urgent tasks.
It breaks goals up into Do Today, Do This Week and Do This Month.
And if you really want to get real with yourself, this version (below) might be for you… with categories for Holy S###, Do This Now!, Do Sometime Soon, and Not Really Serious About this Yet.
And if you’re feeling extra motivated, why not jot down some goals for the future? This worksheet has sections for weekly, monthly and yearly goals.
Get this To-Do List Bundle that includes:
- Dream – Plan – Hustle – Grow title page
- Do Today – This Week – This Month to-do list worksheet
- Holy S###, Do This Now – Do Sometime Soon – Not Really Serious About This Yet worksheet
- Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Goals worksheet
- Divider page with palm design
Just click here:
Add these to-do lists to the 20+ page ‘Plan Like A Mother‘ printable planner that includes bundles for:
- Meal Planning
- Meal Prep
- Cashless Budgeting
- Debt Payoff
- Savings Goals
Get the ultimate planning bundle here:
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