Oh, the to-do list. If you’re an organization fanatic like me (any other Capricorns out there?), you LOVE your to-do lists. I make a to-do list every day. I actually usually write them at the end of the day for the next day and update it if I need to as the day goes on. If you love to-do lists, you know how satisfying it is to check things off your list when you’re done with them. But some people (even us queens of organization) have trouble when it comes to how to tackle your to-do list. Making the list is the fun part, but how do you get through it effectively?
Here are 8 of my best tips to tackle your to-do list and get more done in less time.
1. Write down your to-do list the day before
As I mentioned above, I always write my to-do list for the next day at the end of my current work day. It makes me feel so much more organized the next morning. If you already know what’s on your to-do list the night before, you won’t feel so overwhelmed getting started in the morning. You’ll know exactly what you’re going to start working on when you sit down and you can get to work tackling your to-dos right away! You can always add tasks in as you go about your day, but believe me, writing it the night before helps you be much more productive the day of!
2. Get the toughest tasks out of the way first
I don’t know about you, but by the time late afternoon rolls around I’m usually somewhere between looking up dinner recipes on Pinterest and thinking about my weekend plans. Most people are most productive first thing in the morning, so this is when you should be tackling you’re toughest tasks. It may be tempting to leave them until later and ease into your morning with mindless work, but it will take you more time to get through your tough tasks if you’re not functioning at your most productive.
3. Keep it simple
Your to do list for one day should always be around 3 to 5 tasks (depending on how big they are). Any more than that and it can start getting really overwhelming. The simpler, the better. This allows you to give your full attention to each task without getting distracted by everything else you have going on. If you have more than 5 urgent tasks that need to get done everyday, it may be time to start delegating. Which brings me to my next point…
4. Outsource what you don’t want to do/ aren’t good at
There was one point a few months ago where I felt like a broken record. When people would ask me how work was going, I would say “Great! But there’s just SO much to do. I feel like I can’t do it all.” I realized I couldn’t do it all by myself, but I wasn’t doing anything about it. So I FINALLY started to delegate.
One thing I did? I’ve started working with a Pinterest manager to schedule and grow my account and page views! I’m also looking into an Instagram manager to help me over there as well. This has taken a lot off my plate already and I’m excited to start outsourcing even more!
5. Give each task a time limit
Giving each task a time limit has made a world of a difference for me. Without set time limits, you allow yourself to get more easily distracted, where if you know you only have a certain time to get something done, you’ll get to it! My Day Designer has been my saving grace when it comes to scheduling tasks with time limits. Every day in the planner not only has a to-do list, there’s also a list beside it with every hour from 7 am to 7 pm. What I like to do is write out my list on the right side and then organize and prioritize it by hour on the left side!
6. Set Goals and Prioritize
Prioritizing is SO important. It’s key to effectively getting through your to-do list, rather than spending your time focusing on the not-so-important tasks on your list. Each week, come up with two or three main goals for yourself. Then each day when you’re looking through your to-do list, the items that will help you achieve your goals come first, no questions asked. These are the tasks that are high priority – they will get you to where you want to go! If a task doesn’t affect your goals, it should go to the bottom of the list.
7. Reward yourself
How much more likely would you be to get through your to-do list if there was a reward? I’m not saying you need to reward yourself every single day, but how about every week? If you get through the majority of your list at the end of the week, treat yo’ self, girlfriend! This could be something small or big, it’s up to you, but I don’t think we reward ourselves enough! If you had a crazy week and were super productive, don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back in the shape of a spa day or your favourite meal for take out!
8. Step away when you feel overwhelmed
Even if you have your to-do list under control, the day-to-day can get overwhelming. I find that when I feel really overwhelmed I end up feeling frozen and just don’t do anything. Whenever this happens, I like the step away from my computer for a bit. I’ll go to the gym, go for a walk outside, or do a quick Youtube yoga session to help me reset. When you feel stuck, the worst thing you can do is sit there and force yourself to try to get through it. Take some me-time and you’ll come back feeling more productive than before!
When it comes to tackling your to-do list, these 8 tips will help you go from overwhelmed to productivity boss! Use these steps everyday to help you get through your tasks and don’t forget to reward yourself at the end of each week! Oh, and if you have any more tips on how YOU tackle your to-do list, please share them with us in the comment section!
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