If you’re like me, you enjoy making lists. I get a lot of relief from writing everything down and getting rid of that “I feel like I’m forgetting something important I need to do…” feeling. However, a big, long to-do list can be daunting and overwhelming.
1. Brain Dump Get rid of all the nagging thoughts floating around in your head. Take 10-15 minutes and write down everything you can possibly think of…from the tiny, minuscule tasks to the giant projects you need to tackle. Make sure you include things that may have a distant deadline, it will give you peace of mind knowing it’s written down for your reference. I like to have a small notepad in my purse with my brain dump list so I can always add to it if I think of something throughout the day.
2. Pick 3 tasks to be your top priority TODAY
Ask yourself, what will have the most severe consequences if I don’t take care of it today? If you don’t have anything with a pressing deadline, pick the things that are nagging you most. By limiting yourself to three top priorities, you’ll be more focused and will (most likely) end up getting more done than if you were trying to get 10+ things done at once.3. Set reminders on your phone to alert you at optimal times. In my opinion, one of the most annoying stresses is the stress to remember something. With as busy as I am, it seems like the chances are slim that I’ll remember something BEFORE it’s been forgotten. I’ve recently adapted this strategy to help relieve the stress to remember. For example: when I’m out running errands and I remember tomorrow is garbage day. Instead of hoping (and stressing) I’ll remember to put the cans out, I just ask my phone to remind me about the time I’ll be home. This way, I remember to complete my task at a time where I know I’ll be able to take care of it.
4. Use your To-Do List to create balance in your life. After you’ve made your list, it’s easy to review it and see where your time and effort is concentrated. You may find you need to add “spend some quality time with my kids” or “schedule date night” to your list to ensure you don’t lose sight of what’s really important.
5. Create accountability to help you get those less-than-desirable tasks done. We all have those things we hate doing and we procrastinate by completing every other thing on our list first. For me, it’s cleaning the bathroom and/or doing laundry. To help give me the extra push I need, I’ll tell my husband, “I’m going to do a load of laundry today, did you need anything washed in particular?” He almost always has a specific request and because I told him I’d do it, I have extra accountability to get it done.
What do you do to master your to-do list? Please share your tips in the comments or on our Facebook page!