Expert Tips for Creating the Ideal To-Do List

Original author: SUSAN JOHNSTON
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89% of people say that they can’t cope with their daily responsibilities ; only 11% of professionals worldwide carry out everything they planned in an average working day (according to the LinkedIn survey ). Therefore, we asked experts how to make a to-do list that can be completed .

Achieving goals recorded on paper is more likely. But many of us are forced to struggle with an endless list of tasks: drop in dry cleaning, finish work on a presentation, call a dentist, book a plane ticket, order a wedding present ...

Tracy McCubbin, a professional organizer and owner of dClutterfly located in Los Angeles, believes that one of the reasons for the annoyance on the task lists lies in high expectations: we want to complete all the planned tasks. The lists, in her opinion, are something alive and breathing, opposing the fact that you can say: “I’ve deleted everything and I’ve had enough!” In addition to reconciling them with their infinite nature, here are other strategies for taming task lists.

Rank priorities realistically


Having written too many items on our to-do list, we may feel depressed. Therefore, Jason Womack, the current trainer and author of the book “There is no limit to perfection,” suggests sticking to “verbs that bring money and actions that make you happy.” “Many people fall into the trap of thinking that they are really busy, but they can’t cope with many,” says Womack. He asks his clients what 2-5 actions will help them move forward this year.

Womack himself makes money through speeches and publications. Therefore, he focuses on activities such as writing texts, making phone calls, conducting electronic correspondence. All this protects his prospects and ensures a regular income flow, so Womack and his wife Jodi annually go on vacation for a month, and this already belongs to the field of happiness.

To help his clients determine exactly what tasks should be focused on, he asks: “Why are you doing this?” And “If you will perform this task for the next 36 months, then, in your opinion, will you be happier or can you make more money? "

Paula Rizzo, author of Listing Thinking: Using Lists to Improve Productivity and Successand reduce stress, "recommends taking only one sticker per day to avoid the temptation to grab onto new tasks:" I believe in very short targeted lists, which can only have a few items! "Instead of putting additional tasks on your list, consider delegate the purchase of food or cleaning to someone else. And give yourself relief if you don’t have time to cook pasta from scratch.

“You should not be hurt if such things continue to arise. Such items should probably be sent to the list entitled “Someday,” notes Rizzo.

You can review this list later, but do not let things from there distract you from more important tasks. Putting order in your list using the deadline (with putting urgent matters in first place) will also help determine priorities .

Understand what is best for you


Since the methods of maintaining lists are constantly being improved, there is no one universal option. Some people like the feel of writing a list by hand.
Others are attracted by the ability to synchronize with the digital list from different devices and have access to tasks from anywhere. Rizzo prefers to break his lists into different categories (work, home, travel, etc.), so as not to cope with one marathon list.

And McKubbin keeps his general list in a notebook that he carries in his purse. “It’s more convenient for me if everything is in one place, I don’t like to differentiate life,” she explains.

Get rid of old lists or duplicate them


After completing the task, mentally pat yourself on the shoulder, removing it from the list. “I know the technique of adding deliberately unnecessary things to the list, allowing me to cross out them and experience a sense of deliverance,” says Rizzo.

If you want a list of completed tasks, the iDoneThis application will help you with this. But don't let the old to-do lists clutter up your desktop and collect dust. McCubbin says: many of her clients duplicate their lists on different pieces of paper or lined notebooks around the house. “People argue with me, but I find lists five years ago,” she laughs.

Of course, the tasks that you coped with, according to Womack, are much more significant than the list itself. “The point is not to compile a list, but to create an incentive force that forces you to perform important tasks. By lining up tasks in a line, you maintain a concentration that allows you to get to the right line. ” Use the approach that takes you to the next milestone, no matter what it will be - a self-adhesive piece of paper, an Evernote file or a lined notebook.

PS We recommend another article on the topic - How to choose the key aspects of life in order to invest energy and time in them .

The author of the translation is Vyacheslav Davidenko, founder of MBA Consult .

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