Your todo list is the most important tool in your time management toolkit.
Yet, for many people, their task list is often forgotten until it is too late. Or deadlines are missed.
Is your to-do list doing it’s job to keep you productive through your day?
Ensure Your List Is Doing It’s Job
When it comes to time management, I like to tell people that your to-do list should be your best friend.
After all, it is your first ally in the daily productivity battle. It should be your first tool of defense against the onslaught of “things you need to do.”
‘When your to-do list is doing its job, it should make you more productive in all areas of your day.’
Yet, if you aren’t using your list regularly. Or if it is disorganized or forgotten, then it can’t serve the purpose it was intended.
You have to ensure that your to-do list is doing it’s job of capturing tasks. It should be getting those work items “out of your head,” so that you can concentrate on the immediate task at hand.
When you and your list are working together, you will be much more productive and effective in your daily actions.
Here are 10 Signs Your Todo List is Doing It’s Job:
- Gets Tasks Off Your Mind – The first purpose of your to-do list is to capture tasks. Let your list document what you need to do, so you can stop thinking and worrying about it.
- Keeps your priorities in order – Your list should be an “ordered list.” It should keep your tasks in order or priority so that you know which tasks have greater importance. This keeps you from doing low impact work before the things that truly matter.
- Keeps you from multi-tasking – When you work “from your list” you finish one task before going to your list for the next. Let your list keep you from multi-tasking by letting you concentrate on one task at a time.
- Schedules Tasks for the Future – A good todo app (or dayplanner) should let you schedule tasks for a future date. This allows you to send a task to the future, and it will return when you need it. I currently use Things as my todo app, and with a quick “flick” I can schedule a task to a future day.
- Keeps track of Someday-Maybe Tasks – Some tasks need to be remembered but maybe not acted on at the present time. Make sure your to-do list includes a Someday-Maybe area to catch these “someday” tasks. (Just beware the Someday-Never list…)
- Motivates You to Complete Tasks – Nothing feels better than crossing a todo off your list. Whether physically on a paper list, or checking one-off in your to-do app, it should feel good to mark things complete. This positive reinforcement will drive your productivity.
- Helps You Focus on Today – Your to-do list should help you focus on the things you are doing today. You may have many tasks you are tracking, however most to-do apps let you designate a “Today List.” They are the tasks you intend to act on today.
- Goes With Your Everywhere – To be effective your list must always be with you. These days the easiest way to do this is to carry it on your phone. If you are using a paper-based list, make sure it is portable enough for you to carry it with you at all times. It has to be available when you need it.
- Lets You Track Delegated Tasks – Just because you delegated an action doesn’t mean you can forget about it. Make sure you reserve an area of your list to track delegated tasks, so that you know that they come back as done.
- Reminds you of tasks you forgot – My favorite example that demonstrates that your to-do list is doing it’s job is when it reminds you of something you forgot you needed to do. You added it to your list, and it reminded you at the proper time that you needed to do something that was no longer on your mind.
Put your To-Do List to Work
How does your to-do list measure up?
Make sure it is doing its job to keep you productive. When it is, it should make your day easier and you should accomplish more with less effort.
Put your to-do list to work so that you can get more done in your day.
Question: How do you ensure that your to-do list is working for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.