Ten Tips To Tick Off Your ‘To Dos’
I’m sure you know by now that I love a good list. Especially if it is cleanly organised. The satisfaction of completing things I have to-do fills me with real joy and makes me feel incredibly productive. You can’t deny the satisfaction of ticking something off of a list. Whether it be a list written down, a mental list or not even a list at all just some scribbling on your hand; accomplishing something that you needed to get done gives you a real buzz.
However, sometimes your list isn’t looking as tidy as you’d like, you aren’t on top of the things you have to-do and it can be a little chaotic and intimidating to get started on. Luckily for you, if this is the case, there is no real big secret in getting through your list. With a few adaptations and tips in turning the chaos into something a little prettier, you’re going to be on a roll! If you’re a dilly-dallier or serial procrastinator, then this post is for you. To do lists are extremely individual and everyone has their own techniques but here are my ten tips in helping you them off —
- Estimate Estimate Estimate — next to each task roughly guess how long it will take to complete it. If you find yourself at a loose end for some time, you may be able to tick off a few smaller tasks
- Check your list each morning and prioritise — Check your list in the morning and tick off what you’ve achieved and re-prioritise what is left. Checking that in the morning means that the things you need to do will be fresh in your mind. This also helps with stress by writing down those pesky thoughts that can sometimes cause procrastination later in the day
- Separate your lists — By splitting one list into categories means I can focus in one place. For example, I have a weekly list that is one page. I separate the page into three. Each area is titled and relevant to the different things I do, one for general life (e.g. replace the lightbulb in the kitchen), one for my personal training and one for my other work. Easily manageable, tidy and keeps you on top of things
- Break it down — Sometimes the biggest tasks can feel the most overwhelming to start off with. In which case, break that one big task down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Yes, it will make your list look bigger at first but remember it’s only one thing at the end of it
- Reward yourself! — Don’t see ticking something off as painstaking and losing the sensation of completion. Even if it’s some rest in between chores, a phone call, a walk or some time on your phone, we all deserve a little treat now and then. This will also stimulate positive association with having a reward after a completing a task. Just don’t get too side-tracked with that reward…
- K.I.S (Keep It Simple) — avoiding multiple lists and having too many things on the list that make it unachievable are both things to avoid. Keep it simple and don’t see keeping the list as a task itself. Don’t overcomplicate it!
- Use tools — Utilise tools whether it be a high-quality leather-bound paper back diary, a digital solution, a whiteboard, blackboard, some post it notes or just a regular pen and paper
- Do what you dread first — It’s a given that there are always tasks on your list that you don’t enjoy. We’ve all made the mistake in leaving something that we dislike doing till last. By then, it either doesn’t get done, or doesn’t get done properly. Attacking that particular task first, and at a time of day when you feel most productive (for me, it’s the morning) means that by lunchtime, it will be out of your hair!
- One at a time — Don’t be overwhelmed with the amount on your list or how long a specific task is going to take you. Tackle one at a time. Taking your time and energy to focus on one particular task means you’ll complete it more effectively
- The ‘Completed’ List — It is important to stay on top of completed tasks, something that is often forgotten about. Unchecked tasks can clutter up your list and mind even more. Additionally, on a digital app like Wunderlist (which I highly recommend) you can see the completed tasks. This makes you feel even more productive when looking back to see how much you’ve done
Try a few of these and see how many tasks you’ll be ticking off! Then, tell me how productive you’re feeling…