10 Tips to Make a Powerful To-Do List

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This is a guest post by Sean Smith. Smith is the Growth Master for Tribe, the app that makes it easy to track all of your tasks in your email.

When you peek at your to-do list, is it powerful?

Or is it cluttered with mindless tasks?

How can you actually get stuff done with your to-do list?

Prioritize Tasks

When you are not prioritizing tasks you end up with an inefficient to-do list.

Creating a productive to-do list takes critical thinking because it’s customized to your life and your journey. It also prevents you from trying to do too much.

Ask yourself these 3 questions when evaluating tasks:

  1. Is it low, medium, high, or top priority?
  2. When does it need to be done?
  3. How difficult will it be for you to complete?

Limit the answer to these questions to one or two words. Don’t overthink it.

Taking a few minutes to think critically about your daily tasks will prevent you from wasting your time.

Here are 10 Tips to Making a Powerful To-Do List:

  1. Consciously prioritize – Categorizing tasks into low, medium, high, and top priority tells you what needs to be done first.
  2. Set the urgency – When does the task need to be done? Today, tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now. Tasks that need to be done today would be higher on your list than those that need to be done in a week
  3. Determine the effort involved – Sending a quick email to a friend or coworker is easier than creating a report. The differences in effort for these tasks are important to note. Categorizing a task as easy, average, hard, or brutal really gives you insight. For example, complete brutal tasks if you have a ton of energy and feel productive, and easier tasks when you feel you’re having an off day
  4. Use technology to help you – Time management software is a great way to stay organized. There are a ton of options out there, and a lot are affordable or free. I recommend only using one or two. Too much technology can actually make you less productive.
  5. Assess spontaneous tasks critically – Here’s how it plays out. Someone contacts you and says ,”You need to do this now! It’s urgent.” Is it really? Or is that person just trying to put themselves at the top of your to-do list. Be sure to critically assess the importance whenever you’re given a spontaneous task. Run it through the priority, urgency, and effort test. That way you can be deliberate about what gets added.
  6. Segment projects into tasks – One of the most valuable skills on this planet is the ability to take a project and break it into manageable tasks.
  7. Review and edit the list throughout the day – The to-do list is a living, breathing document that can change at any moment. It is a direct reflection of who we are because it controls what we do. Review it throughout the day and edit it as needed.
  8. Review and assess progress – You should schedule a time at the end of the day to assess your task list. Why did a task take longer than you thought? Why was a task so easy then you thought it would be hard? This self-evaluation helps you understand your workflow.
  9. Include calendar events – Cross-referencing your to-do list with your calendar will help you find the time gaps where you can get stuff done.
  10. Make time for your life – Be sure to add fun activities and hobbies to your to do list. For example, I add rock climbing to my list because I love it. You should do the same for what you love to do.

Get Stuff Done!

Your to-do list can be your biggest asset or liability.

Avoid the latter by creating a list that consciously reflects your productivity.

The bottom line is when you create a powerful to-do list you will actually get stuff done.

Question: How do you create a powerful to-do list? Share your best tips. You can leave a comment by clicking here.