I don’t know how anyone gets anything done without a to-do list. If I don’t make a list I end up wasting the entire day. If you didn’t think I was nerdy before, I usually keep a macro and micro list. Here are some tips:
1. Start your list for the next day in the afternoon. I have found that writing the list during the day time helps me sleep better. It gives me plenty of time to add the random things I remember so I don’t stay up thinking about what I need to do tomorrow.
2. Keep a weekly to-do list. I don’t like making daily lists because then my days feel to structured. On Sunday I’ll write down all the things I need to do for the following week. Every day I go over the list and pick the things I want to do for that day. If a friend calls and wants to have lunch, I know that the list is still there and I’ll be able to catch up tomorrow. Keeping a weekly list allows for some spontaneity but also ensures that everything gets done.
3. Plan for the future. This tip comes from my dad. This isn’t necessary for most people, but if you have a big goal it’s hard to keep track of your progress if you don’t make a Macro-to-do list. Figure out when you want to accomplish your goal, make a list of everything you need to do to make that goal, and then assign a deadline for each of those tasks. If you don’t do this it’s easy to let things take longer than they need to. My dad is a big fan of Parkinson’s law : Work expands to fill the time allotted.
4. Write it on paper. I never got into using my phone for to-do lists. First of you have to remember to check your phone for the list. And I guarantee that every time you check your phone you’ll get distracted my a text message, or an email, or low battery. I keep my list right by my computer so it’s visible, and I can easily add things. Plus it’s so rewarding to cross something off my list. When I’m done with my list it looks like a scribbled out mess. If you’re really against pen and paper, I suggest google tasks. It’s simple and easy.
5. Include some fun things. I always include some self indulgent activities on my list. It reminds me that taking care of myself is just as important as filing my tax return.
I hope this helps you get more done!
You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.
- A Brief History of the To-Do List and the Psychology of Its Success (brainpickings.org)