Tips For Organizing Your To-Do List & Being More Productive
July 22, 2017
With so much going on in my life, I have found myself in a state of over-organising it. I have 4 different methods of keeping track of tasks that need to be completed, with some of the tasks over lapping onto more than one to-do list.
If you leave your to-do list unorganized for too long it can literally get out of hand and cause you to be very unproductive… or have a panic attack. With my anxiety, I live by to-do lists, note tracking, and being super organized. So having reached this point in my life where my to-do list is out of hand I have found myself sitting back and achieving nothing because even starting to tackle the problem is too overwhelming and I would rather avoid it.
But you can’t avoid you to do list – it needs to be done…
I have taken some serious actions to get myself out of the rut that I have found myself in lately, and changing the way I organize my to-do list is one of my top priorities. It’s actually the first thing that I am doing in order to get everything on track again.
Here are a few tips that help me get my to-do list more organized:
GO BACK TO BASICS:
I took a step back and thought about what method worked best for me. I always seem to be more productive when I write things down. My attempt to move more to a digital lifestyle and downloading an app for my to-do list is what has led me down the path of over-organising. So now I am heading back to my roots – the might pen… and paper.
FIND THE METHOD THAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU:
This ties in with my previous tip, however we are all different and methods that work well for me might not work well for someone else. Trial a few methods and decide whether you prefer to have an app that syncs with all of your home devices or whether you prefer the good old pen and paper like myself.
Whatever method you decide on, you need to make sure that it is easy for you to use. If your method of choice is too complicated and you spend more than a few seconds creating a task or removing a completed one then you will end up back down the path of over organizing.
STICK TO YOUR METHOD:
I tried moving over to a new method and that is how I ended up being as unorganized and stressed as what I am. Make sure that you can take your to-do list with you wherever you go because ideas, thoughts, and tasks can pop-up at any point in time. You cannot jot down a task on a napkin at a restaurant and expect to remember to do it down the line.
KEEP THE LIST SHORT SWEET AND TO THE POINT:
Don’t write down EVERYTHING you ever expect to do in your life. Keep your list relevant and to the point. If Nancy’s birthday is only in 8 months time and you need to buy her a gift, don’t write it down on your to-do list for today. Instead, set a reminder on your phone closer to the time and add it to your to-do list only then. A long list filled with unnecessary line items can be overwhelming and make you unproductive. Crossing off a lot of relevant task now make you more productive in the future.
MAKE SEPARATE LISTS FOR DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE:
I’m looking at my to-do list right now and I have “design website logo” right above “clean the kitchen”. These 2 tasks are totally unrelated and should never have been on the same list. One is a work related task and the other is more personal.
*on another note (some self pity), how sad has my life become that I actually need to remind myself to clean the house. I have really hit organization rock bottom people.
LIST TASKS IN THEIR ORDER OF IMPORTANCE:
Don’t let tasks that have important deadlines get lost in long lists. Make sure you prioritize tasks so that sh*t gets done. Consider giving your to do list a numbering system. If you are like me and write things down as you think of them it is often difficult to keep the important things at the top – so simply put a number next to it in order of importance.
BREAK DOWN LARGER PROJECTS:
It is important to break larger tasks into smaller more manageable chunks so that goals seem more achievable. No one wants to start something if they don’t see the point of the end result.
Seeing a task like “build website and add content” is so much more intimidating than seeing three tasks that say “build website page template”, “add journal image to page”, and “write organization tips blog post”. Although the subtasks make the list longer, you will cross items off much faster, which ultimately makes you feel good and more productive.
AIM TO DO AT LEAST ONE TASK A DAY:
Try and at least complete a single task on your to-do list each day. You will find that it will be easier to do more and more each day as the list gets smaller and smaller. The idea is to be completing more tasks a day than what you are adding to your to-do list.
Remember that a to-do list is meant to be helpful and not daunting. Use these tips to stop your to-do list from getting out of hand.