Use a To-Do list is mandatory in order to manage your private and professional life. It is an efficient, easy to use, and costless tool that can greatly increase your productivity if you handle it properly. Using a To-Do list on daily basis is also a good way to remain motivated: each time you check a task as done, you see that you reached one more objective, and it gives you a feeling of achievement.
Here are 5 methods to catch the most of benefits from your To-Do list:
1. Always have it on you
Depending of your relations with technologies, have it on your computer, your smartphone, your tablet, or your paper made scheduler. The goal here is that you always have it on you
I personally use the Todoist app: its free version gives you a way enough options. The interface is minimalist but do the job very well.
Moreover it is on all platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, and even Chrome app. That way, I don’t have any way to escape from my To-Do list. I can add tasks, check done tasks, or just see all my current projects at anytime. The synchronization is done as soon as you get connected to internet. Of course, there are a lot of similar tools, so choose the one you prefer. The most known and used apps are probably Wunderlist and Remember The Milk (RTM).
2. Write every single task
You have now a To-Do list? Great! Next step is to add your tasks to do and your objectives.
Free your mind: each time you think about a thing you have to do, write it directly in your To-Do list. That way, you won’t have to torture yourself wondering what task you might have forgotten.
Sometime also, take few minutes to think about things you have to do. Even it is not very well defined yet, you can add details later.
3. Set intermediate objectives
Setting objectives for your tasks is a very important point, but there is a trick. If you write a general and big objective, you won’t be able to reach it.
For example, if your objective is to look like a bodybuilder, don’t write it that way. Instead set intermediate and easy to reach objectives: Do push-ups every day, do crunches every day… In the same way, if your goal is to increase your sales, don’t write « Increase sales » but « Contact targeted leads ».
4. Set countable objectives
For each task you add on your To-do list, you have to set countable objectives.
So if I take my last example « Contact target leads », it is wrong. You have to define «how many».
Our future bodybuilder should « Do 30 push-ups and 50 crunches per day ». Our salesman should « Contact 10 targeted leads ».
Then, once you have reached this countable target, you can check this task as done.
At the opposite, without a defined number, how can you estimate if you have finished that task or not?
5. Set deadlines
Let’s go further. You have a countable objective now, but when do you have to reach it? In a week, a month, a year, a decade? Without deadline, the procrastination will beat your will for sure.
So, if we take our former examples, tasks should be therefor be: « Do 40 push-ups in a row in 30 days », or « Contact 10 targeted leads before Friday ».
Be honest with yourself, without imposed deadlines most of jobs would never end. So define reasonable deadlines, and stick strictly to them.
These methods might sounds a bit obvious, but most of us are discouraged in front of a large amount of work or a large project because we don’t follow these simple rules.
So, from now, split your project into small, easy to do, and countable tasks. Set also a deadline for each of your tasks, and stick to it.
You will be surprised to see that you achieve more, and that you are going to reach your large objective easier than you thought at first.
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