I make lists on my Smartphone, I write them in my day-timer, my journal and if I have a scrap of paper around I’ll make a list there too. Even with the technology we have today, I still find it easiest to write a task list on a piece of paper and carry it with me. Yes, you read that correctly, I still use a paper list (often times a scrap of paper) and for me it works. I know it works for others too, because I still see people carrying lists and getting stuff accomplished. List-making works and I want to share a few tricks that have helped for me to get my most important tasks done.
Write it Down
When you have things to do, write them down somewhere you can see it. If you can’t see it, likely you won’t remember it. I have a running list of tasks I have to accomplish that I keep in a workbook by workstation. Each task varies in priority at first, but the important thing is that they make the list. I write the task down under the date and if it’s something I have to do away from the workstation, then I write it on a task list that I’ll carry with me. Just a simple note is fine, AS LONG AS YOU REMEMBER TO BRING IT WITH YOU. I’ll carry a note with me for the day, until the tasks are all done. I’ve made it my habit, that when I write it down it gets done. When new tasks come up, don’t keep them in your head, add them to the list. Put easy things, quick things, urgent tasks, important tasks on your list. If your task is written down in a place you will always look at it, both your conscious and your subconscious mind are reminded and are processing what you need to do.
Put the Most Important Stuff at the Top of the List
In the course of a day we have many types of tasks that can be on our list. They can be urgent business deadlines, important things to prepare for, even a simple errand to run. We all have different priorities as to what is urgent and important, but one key is to put what’s most important to get done today at the top of your list. That’s the one you work on first. If you are a writer and your hardest, but most important task for the day is to get that article written, that’s the one you focus on first. Once your hardest and most important goals for the day are taken care, the rest of your tasks will seem easy.
Check Things Off As You Accomplish Them
On my list, beside each task, I put an “underscore line” so that when I finish the task, I can put a check mark beside it. Nothing is more rewarding than looking at a list of tasks that’s full of check marks! I write in a journal at the end of every day, listing all the things I did to move my life forward and what I’m thankful for. It’s funny how on days where I didn’t feel like I had accomplished anything, I could look at my list and see so many of the tasks I finished that impacted where I’m going in my life. When you finish a task, check it off your list!
Decide the Day Before What the Most Important Tasks Are for Tomorrow
Before I head off to bed every night, I write in my journal and make a list of tasks I want to accomplish tomorrow. I make a decision right then, what the two most important tasks are for me to accomplish for that day. To me, that means they become the priority and are to be given the most energy. It also means that I have allotted time in my day to work on them, but those tasks need to get finished. By choosing my most important tasks the night before, gives my subconscious mind time to start strategizing how I will accomplishing the goals for the day. When I start my day, I already have a pretty good idea of how I’ll get everything done. The flip side of this process is that when I write my nightly entry for today, I can check review yesterday’s task list and check everything off the list that I accomplished, plus bring anything forward I’ve forgotten.
You May Never Finish Your List
It’s easy to feel like we need to beat ourselves up when we don’t finish everything on our list. As growing, mature people we need to realize that you can’t always get everything done. We have to be flexible for what life throws at us and priorities can change very fast. At this moment as I’m writing, my priority is to finish this article. I chose this as a goal for today, but If some emergency were to happen to my family, they would become the priority and I’d finish the article later. We have to account for road blocks and growing in the process. We don’t always know as much as we think and may have to break down our steps, or tasks a little further. Today writing comes much easier for me, but in the beginning it was very difficult to put words together. I had some growing to do, so part of that process was carrying tasks forward. Part of growing is adding more to your list, or deciding to let things go.
Keys to slaying your task list:
- Make a list
- Put the Important Tasks at the top of your list
- Decide the 2 most important task to accomplish for the next day
- Check things off as you finish them
- Carry forward what you didn’t finish
- Add to your list daily
You’ll be amazed at how much you can get accomplished by making a list, deciding what’s important to finish and how to prepare for tomorrow. See, even for me…I can check this off my list for today!
Web Design, Marketing, Personal Development