We get it, you like making lists. Trust me, I'm in the same boat. There’s something so satisfying about making a to-do list as long as your arm but let’s be real here, are you actually getting all of that done? While making lists is a great way to stay on top of your goals and tasks, you need to ensure you are actually checking things off. As great as lists are, there is nothing worse than having a list of tasks that never get done. You need to make sure that your to-do list is helping you get sh*t done; not holding you back.
Your lists need to be realistic and achievable.
While putting everything on a massive list might make you feel like the queen of productivity it’s only going to stress you out if you’re not actually getting anything done. What you need to do is approach your list with a strategy.
// BRAIN DUMP
The biggest issue with to-do lists is that they start looking more like a grocery list. You end up wandering up and down the list ticking things off at random with no real structure or plan.
Always start with a brain dump. Start with the date and then list everything you have to do that week: your tasks, objectives, goals, presentations, everything! The Bumble Planner has a nice long to-do list that is just perfect for this type of list making and any of our notebooks work for this as well. It will keep your everyday planner empty from distraction and allows you to write with absolute freedom on the page. Grab a pen and just start writing. Don’t feel overwhelmed by this process. Once you finish your list you will realize there’s no way you are going to miss anything. You’ve got it all in front of you. Now, how do you feel?
// PRIORITIZE THINGS
One of the best things you can do is divide your list. One big thing, 2 medium things and 6 little things. Our Get It Done Planner has exactly enough space for that list every day. The big task is what you probably want to start your day with because in order for you to have a productive day you need to feel like you are crushing it. Completing that big task will give you momentum.
Your 2 medium items are things you absolutely have to get done but that don’t necessarily take up as much time as your big task. What we suggest is that you assign time slots to each of these. Don’t allow yourself to work too long on these and track them using 25min increments (also known as the Pomodoro technique). The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. The Pomodoro Technique teaches you to work with time, instead of struggling against it. The 25 minute timer works! Once you get going you’ll have a hard time stopping. Try it out!
Lastly, your small things should be things like emails, social media related items and other small check-in things that are easy to tick off. Do these towards the 3:30PM mark when your day starts to wind down.
// LEARN THE 4 D’S
This is a rule that you should apply to every to-do list. Do, delegate, delay and drop. When you’re trying to achieve everything on your list things can get stressful so let’s try and avoid that. The first one is "do". This is what you need to do right now. Try and get it off your list as soon as possible.
The second one is "delegate". What can you delegate to others? You might have things on your list that you really shouldn’t be doing; get them off your list and out of your mind. Next is "delay"; what can you delay to free up time for more important things? Make sure when you delay a task that you are spending your time wisely on the task that you do end up focusing on.
Finally if you spend a lot time rolling over on something that you can’t seem to get done it might just be time to "drop" it. This is the easiest way to gain time. Drop something that isn’t especially important in the first place. Get them off your list and out of your head.
// KEEP THINGS SIMPLE
Once you’ve gone through your master list of to-do’s enter them into your planner in order of importance. What might end up happening is that you have tasks to write down for each day of the week. Imagine how good that will feel? Once you see your list in your Get It Done Planner every day you are going to start feeling like you are on track and your to-do list is working with you and not against you.
Quick reminder: A longer list leaves more room for things to not get done so keep your lists simple and concise.