The to-do list. The often dreaded list of tasks that direct us on how to get through our days, keep us in check and actually make sure we're are being productive. The list that we either feel completely lost without or feel we'll never get to the end of. This list is often very much needed, but how do you make the most out of it without allowing it to overwhelm you?
A little over two years ago when I decided to monetize this space through business coaching, I piled on my to-do list with tasks that I needed to do for my then online shop, my coaching clients and also my personal life. At any given day I would have over 15 items on my list with no clue HOW I was going to get it all done without working a full 24 hours. It was a cluttered mess and I felt as if I was always drowning in work but never actually accomplishing anything. And often so overwhelmed to the point where I'd give up on my list completely and just winged it for the rest of the day.
It wasn't because of laziness or because I couldn't handle my work load, it was simply because I sucked at organizing my tasks and deciding what should take priority in my day. When I sat down to plan out my week I didn't put any thought into my daily list other than what I knew needed to be done. I didn't take into account what could have waited or what tasks needed to be done right then, which meant I often had to scramble to make deadlines which caused more frustration than necessary.
Over the years I have tried many different methods to help me get organized and effectively write out my to-do list each day. If you've been struggling with yours, here's where Ive found can be the cause of your problems.
You're not taking advantage of your most productive days
For me, I am more likely to be a lot more attentive and less distracted at the beginning of the week. Which means I schedule out my most important tasks or large projects on Mondays and Tuesdays. I then save smaller tasks to accomplish towards the middle/end of the week. Take note of your work pattern, If you know you're out if it by Friday, don't wait until then to do your most important work. Also if you're working a day job, really take advantage of your days off when you can give more of your business the attention it needs.
YOU DON'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "TO-DO" & A "MUST-DO"
For me it was hard to realize that being busy did not equal being productive. Instead of piling on 20 different tasks in one day, spread them out over the course of your week and prioritize your "must-do's" over your "to-do's". A MUST-DO is what is going to either immediately better your business or bring in income. These can also be tasks that have quickly approaching deadlines and can not wait to be completed. A "to-do" is typically a smaller task or a task that doesn't have to be completed immediately. For example, let's say you need to update your blogs sidebar. It needs to be done but if you don't get to it, it wont immediately affect your business as much as sending out invoices to clients would. When creating your daily list, your "Must-Do's" should always be TOP priority.
For scheduling out your daily Must-do's and To-Do's each week, the Ultimate Weekly Business Planner has the perfect layout to make sure you're staying on track.
want a more productive day? learn the difference between a "must-do" and a "to-do".
You're Not Being Specific
I had a very bad habit of writing down a task that I had to do using three words or less. Then when I actually got to it I had no clue what the actual task was or when it needed to be completed. When you get ready to write out your list take a few extra seconds to really write out the little details of what needs to be done. Not only will it help you stay organized but it will also help your productivity because you're not wasting time trying to figure out what exactly needs to be done.
You Think Working 8 hours straight is effective
Lets face it, no matter how much of a work-a-holic you may be, its nearly impossible to work (and actually do great work) without taking a break. I've found that dedicating a good solid hour or two to work when I first wake up helps my productivity a ton! Then I will reward myself with a 15-20 minute break then I'll work for another two hours. It helps to power through your to-do list when you know you have some down time coming up. It also helps you to make rest a daily priority.
HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOU'RE GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TO-DO LIST?
Looking for the perfect tool to help you effectively plan out your day and your monthly content? The Ultimate Weekly Business Planner is a 12-month planner designed to help you prioritize your most important tasks and also effectively organize, plan and market your way through a successful year! The calendar and weekly spreads are also blank which allows you to start during any month.