I am not exaggerating but if I don’t have access to my To Do list, I wouldn’t know what to do with the entire day. I am equally dependent on my work calendar but that’s a topic for a different blog. As a lifelong To Doer, even before I had a smartphone, I totally believe in the line,
What gets scheduled gets done!
To Do list is my way of scheduling things. I have To Do lists for the entire week, coming weeks as well as upcoming months. I have spent ample time studying the benefits and application of To Do lists and I believe everyone should have one. So here are some tips that can help you get started or get more effective with your To Do lists,
1. Jot down the tasks
This is where everyone must start. It’s okay to forget some tasks. The list need not be exhaustive. It is only your starting point and can be modified later. At this point the most important thing is to take the first step by jotting down the tasks be it on a piece of paper, a diary or an app. I personally use Microsoft To Do because it has both a Computer and a Phone app
2. Don’t prioritize (just yet)
While most To Doers out there will tell you to prioritize all the tasks and start off with the most important one, I encourage you to follow your own pace. Do this once you are comfortable using the To Do list and understand how some tasks must have higher priority. Until then enjoy ticking off the low hanging fruits
3. Sort the tasks
White it’s okay not to prioritize just yet, segmenting and sorting your list is definitely something that you should do. This is how you divide your tasks between work, personal etc. This is also how you can decide whether a task needs to be done today, this week, this month or far out in the future
4. Deal with bigger tasks
Now while some tasks could be as simple as ‘get a haircut’ other tasks could be as big as ‘make an hour-long presentation’. So how do you deal with a gigantic task? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. For some people, breaking down a large task into smaller ones work perfectly fine. For others, I suggest spending a small chunk of time on the task every day. So, if you have a week’s time to make the presentation, block half an hour every day for it. That way you have five entries of 30 minutes each to work on the presentation and not just a single entry which requires 3 hours of effort resulting in procrastination
5. Add metadata
In coding terminology, metadata means “data about data”. For the tasks on your to do list, feel free to add metadata like any additional information, phone numbers, URLs etc. that can help you get the task done quicker when you actually perform it. Having metadata also helps with estimating the effort required. For example, if you have to book a table, having the phone number of the restaurant as metadata would mean it is hardly a 5-minute task. It is on your to do list just so you don’t forget about it
A To Do list is a great way to stay organized, not forget stuff that needs to be done and spend your time productively. Start one now!
Wondering what to put on your To Do list? Here are 4 suggestions from yours truly.