Supposedly, creating a to-do list is something simple – jot down what you what to do onto a notebook or a piece of paper. Making a list of tasks isn’t hard, everyone can do it. But, are you doing it the right way?
A well-planned To-Do list can keep you productive throughout the day. But, if you do it in the wrong way – just writing down a long list of tasks you want to do on that day, you’re just overwhelming yourself with tasks. You’ll end up getting frustrated, instead of motivated. As a result, your productivity will be negatively impacted. When this situation occurs, it just destroys the purpose of having a To-Do list.
Previously, I have written an article about why we should each have a daily to-do list. But, I never mentioned how you should go about creating one. Here, I’m going to share some tips on how to create a good to-do list.
1. Set your MITs.
MITs stand for Most Important Task(s). Every time before you create a to-do list, be sure to ask yourself:
“What are the most important tasks that I need to complete by today?”
Setting your priorities straight isn’t as easy as you think. Most people are always struggling in prioritizing their daily tasks. If it happens to you, you may have to ask yourself a few questions to figure out the answer.
1. “Which tasks, if I get it done, will have a significant impact (positive) on my life?”
2. “If I have only 2 hours left to complete my tasks, which one should be the tasks that I should be doing?”
The first question allows you to figure out which tasks will bring the most benefits to your life, while the second question helps you to set limitations for yourself, in order to find out what means the most to you.
“When everything is important, nothing seems to be important.”
After deciding which are the most important tasks, jot it down and then complete your list with other less important tasks. But, without the right way of executing the to-do list, all the planning is just a waste. You should always focus on your Most Important Tasks first. Get it all done before you move on to the other, less important tasks.
2. Include a list of Low Energy Tasks
While preparing a to-do list, don’t forget to include some easy tasks for yourself. These easy tasks are tasks you carry out when you’re tired, either physically or mentally.
By preparing a list of low energy tasks you can work on for the day, you will end up being more productive. Why?
i) You’re not wasting your time. You utilize every second you have. Eventually, you will get more things done. Even when you feel tired, at least you’re still working on some easy tasks.
ii) You keep the momentum moving. After you’ve done an exhausting task, it’s tiring to continue with the other major tasks you had planned for the day. So, you normally have two choices:
- Take a break.
- Continue to work.
When you decide to rest, you are actually breaking the momentum you have accumulated while working on your tasks. Most of the time, by doing so, there will be a high possibility that you’ll end up procrastinating, unless you have enough self-discipline.
So, the third alternative is to continue to work on low energy tasks, in order to maintain the momentum.
iii) You’ll achieve a sense of achievement even after completing some easy tasks. The common misconception is that only the big wins will motivate us. In fact, what really motivate us are the small wins that we accumulate in the progress of achieving big wins.
By completing some easy tasks, you’ll actually get motivated and it’ll lift your mood. These small achievements will help you to stay pumped-up throughout the day.
What are Low Energy Tasks?
Different people have different opinions on what’s considered a low energy task. Low energy tasks usually require little to no time to be completed. Meanwhile, it can also be tasks that you’re interested in. It doesn’t matter if the tasks aren’t related to your work. Remember, the to-do list is what you create for yourself, so it’s okay to include some personal tasks in it.
While I can’t accurately tell you what your low energy tasks should be, since everyone lives a different life, there are a few questions you may ask yourself to figure out what are your low energy tasks:
- “What are the tasks which I can complete in less than 5 minutes?”
It can be sending or replying to an email, making a call to follow up with your prospect. Or maybe, taking a brief walk to refresh your mind since sitting too much is bad for your health.
- “What are the tasks that never ever seem stressful to me?”
It doesn’t matter if the tasks require a longer time to complete as long as you actually enjoy doing it. When a task doesn’t seem stressful to you, then it is one of your low energy task.
- “What is the task I enjoy doing the most?”
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Choose a task you love doing. Maybe, the tasks you enjoy doing requires you to exert a lot of energy to complete, but I don’t think doing something you’re passionate about will consume too much of your energy right? Indeed, it works the other way around, it will help you to stay energetic.
So, let me summarize the tips and tricks to create to-do list:
1. Set around 3 ‘Most Important Tasks’ for your day.
2. Include a list of Low Energy Tasks into your to-do list.
This is how I create my daily to-do list. And, it works really well for me. Yes, there will be some days where I’m less productive than usual. There will be some days that even these tricks won’t improve my productivity.
The problem usually arises from the execution. When this occurs, let’s just admit and accept the problem just the way it is. We can’t change the past. But, you’ll have to persist, to continue to stick to this habit. It requires a high level of self-discipline to stick to your plan. And, It takes time to develop self-discipline.
DON’T WATCH THE CLOCK; DO WHAT IT DOES. KEEP GOING.
Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.
Thanks : )