Jun 18, 2018

How to Make Your To Do Lists More Effective

Stress is one of the worst enemies of a modern society. We live fast, time is the most precious currency and we all bear that constant pounding in our minds reminding us of all the things we need to do today, and we quite often feel overwhelmed.

What people usually do to relieve of this burden is translate those feelings and tasks to paper or your assistant app like Blink the Bee and make to-do list. 

Can that list become overwhelming as well? Sure it can! If we just keep adding more and more, over time we grow less satisfied and feel less capable.

This sort of behavior creates an illusion that we are never able to do all we planned, because we never give ourselves a break by strategically distributing time and strength on fewer but more significant tasks.

We feel like we just wasted time, which definitely is not true, but that doesn’t really matter if you already are stressed out and anxious.

Here’s some advice on how to put more control into your daily task routine and how to make going through them less stressful.

How to Make an Effective To-Do List

First and foremost you need to make a shorter and more meaningful list. For example, instead of 7 or 8 tasks, you should pick 3 or 4 you consider most important, set those as your main goal for that day.

After you’ve finished them all you can consider your day successful and productive. Everything you choose add later to the list is just considered a daily bonus, and whether you are able to finish those as well is pretty insignificant at that point.
For starters let’s focus on only three tasks for one day and see how it goes.

What you can do is divide your tasks into three categories: must, should and want.
It’s worth mentioning that these 3 tasks should not be your basic daily routine like going to the grocery store before work, but rather something more meaningful and impactful.

Must is reserved for tasks that bear a great significance to you personally or people close to you. They are the most important thing you need to focus on today and giving up on the must should not be an option, unless extreme circumstances prevent that.

Should is something you’ve been working on for a while now and this task should contribute to the final goal like morning exercise.It’s not the end of the world if you can’t make it, but you should follow your streak regularly.

Want is like a reward for everything you’ve accomplished so far. Treating yourself is a good thing. For example, doing some shopping with your friends after a hard day’s work or anything that makes you happy.

You don’t have to stop at 3, be creative, experiment, and see what works for you and what makes you feel both productive and satisfied. It’s important to not allow yourself to alter the list once you’ve completed it.

It helps to prepare in advance, like a night before, in order to have clear goals right from the get go. It all depends on your personal preference and habits.
Remember, this is not a race or competition and the last thing you want is start chasing your own shadow again.

Don’t Overestimate Yourself

What you can’t do today, you should actually leave for tomorrow. This is true in a sense that you don’t really need to push yourself too hard and try to shove in more tasks on the list.

What you need to do is focus on what you’ve already decided to finish today. This is not you being lazy. This is you respecting your time, and the time of your coworkers or friends.

Basically what you want is quality over quantity, to have a constant stream of work-reward method, rather than pile up more tasks, and generate unwanted stress.

It’s Not a Race!

As we mentioned above, you are not racing anyone and there is no personal score you need to compete with. When you start planning your list, you are also going to determine how much time each task is going to take.

Be generous to yourself. If you think it’s going to take an hour to do something, make it two hours. The idea is to make yourself more comfortable when you don’t feel rushed and restricted by time schedule.

Remember, quality matters more than quantity, and if you are able to finish your task earlier, the reward is this extra time.

Remove Any Distractions

It’s very important to stay focused and not let any distractions get in your way. You should get off all the social media and just concentrate on one task at a time.

Multitasking is an option, but only if it doesn’t hinder the progress. It’s best to choose the most important assignment on your list to be the first thing to do at the start of a day.

This success in the beginning will be your fuel for the rest of the day.

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