The simple 'to-do list' is often overlooked and underrated when it comes to easy tasks that can organise your life. However if there is one thing I can always rely on to guarantee my day to be a productive one, it's a solid to-do list.
Below are the basic tools you need to know in order to write a to-do list like a pro:
1. Keep It Simple
One of the easiest ways I organise my life daily is by writing a big to-do list every evening for the following day.
For me I prefer to write everything down I need to remember. However if to-do lists are new for you, keep it simple. A to-do list is not there to make you feel overwhelmed and disappointed if you don't achieve everything. A to-do list is there to help with time management, prioritising your day / workload and to ultimately guarantee you a productive day.
First thing's first, write down the top THREE tasks you need to achieve. These tasks should be things that need your focus & attention. They could be things that will help move your business forward, or deadlines you need to meet for a client. No matter what they are, write them down & make sure these are the three things you focus on in the AM when your attention span is high and you are feeling fresh & motivated. These are called your MIT's or 'Most Important Tasks'.
If you feel comfortable adding other tasks to your to-do list, leave a gap and continue writing other 'minor' tasks, meetings or reminders you have for the day.
2. Create A Code
It's important to segment your to-do list / day into sections. This will help you manage your time, prioritise your workload and make the day a lot more achievable and stress-free. As I said before - you do not need to achieve EVERYTHING on this list. It's there for you to prioritise your workload & your day. Life is fast paced, and things can change & pop up - remain flexible but know what you NEED to achieve on your to-do list that day, and what you WANT to achieve if you have no interruptions or delays. There is a big difference between need and want!
Your code can be unique to you. Here are some examples below:
- Pink: Top 3 Priorities - Urgent
- Green: AM - Ideal Morning Tasks
- Blue: PM - Ideal Afternoon Tasks
- Yellow: Flexible - can be moved onto another day if need be
With the colour coding, a simple tick next to the item or box can be implemented when you complete a task.
Personally I'm a fan of symbols. See below an example of how I organise & code my to do-list daily. And also the key I work to.
Once you have worked out your coding system. Go through your to-do list and allocate each item a 'code'. This will help you prioritise your day. When your to-do list is complete, read through it all and mentally prepare for the day ahead. Next, switch off and relax for the evening, knowing you are organised and ahead of the game!
4. One Task At A Time
In the morning when you are focused and fresh, start your day and follow your to-do list. Concentrate on one task at a time where possible, and enjoy the satisfaction of ticking of atleast your x3 priorities or MIT's.
Enjoy, Beck x
Feeling inspired to start writing a daily to-do list? A Lined Notebook, Notepad or Diary are our personal faves at the AOL HQ for writing them in.