Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Get a handle on your to-do list

Posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 by International Coach Federation

Seems like most people these days have to-do lists that never shrink. Aside from those items that are routinely added on a daily basis, there are those items that remain on your list, no matter how much time passes.

Perhaps these never-crossed-off items seem too intimidating or time consuming to begin right away. Or maybe your never-crossed-off items get shoved to the bottom of your priorities for the simple reason that they do not seem pressing enough.

Whatever your list looks like, here are three simple tips to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your to-do list manageable:
  • Chop your list into easier to handle lists. If your to-do list is so overwhelmingly long that you cannot even look at it without breakout out in a case of hives, you should begin by first categorizing and then breaking down your list. You might decide you want to rank your items by priority. Or maybe you would rather group like items together. Once you determine which way works best for you, create lists with no more than five items per list. Though you may have numerous lists, having fewer items per list will make it easier for you to work through your projects.
  • Tackle tough projects early. Before your day gets too busy, devote the early part of your day to working on a larger or more difficult project. The morning is best for these kinds of projects as you start a new day with renewed energy and spirit. Likewise, plan to take on easier projects later in the day when your energy levels begin to drop.
  • When you are working, focus on work. It is very easy to let your mind wander to non-pressing matters when more urgent items call for your complete attention. To ensure focus during your work hours, create time in the course of your day to take mini breaks when you can think about your evening plans, your grocery list or your next home improvement project. By taking frequent breaks, you will allow your mind time to focus on work when it is time to work.
One additional tip: no matter how many hours you choose to work in a day, stick to it! Having a balanced work-life schedule is key to keeping things fresh and your list manageable.

If you need help organizing your to-do list, many smart phone app stores have to-do list and time management applications that may help you. Simply search “to do list” or “time management” in your phone’s app store to find an app that works for you. Also, if you would rather create lists on your computer, simply search “to do list” in Google for resources to assist you.

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