The Simple Joy of Lists! How to use to-do lists to be more productive.
Did you know? You are 33% more likely to achieve a task if it is on a to-do list? Plus, crossing things off is incredibly satisfying don’t you think? Check out these top tips on how to use lists to make you more productive! Such ideal timing as we head into the busy festive period of the year
1. Pick Your Perfect Medium
Which format do you prefer? Digital or paper? I am a mix of the two. I store my longer term notes, plans and ideas in digital format, whereas my daily to-do lists – I keep as paper. I prefer physically crossing things off in my planner with a pen – it is one of life’s little joys! It makes me feel as though I am accomplishing things 🙂
Choose what you prefer but just make sure it is something that inspires you and is easy to access or transport so it can be with you when you need it.
2. Be realistic
You might hope to achieve 10 things every day but it is not realistic to expect that you can. Plus when you only get to number 3 by the end of the day, it can deflate you which is not good for your motivation!
Instead try focusing on the Top 3 most important things you need to accomplish that day – anything else is a bonus!
Sometimes I like to also include 2 small tasks (10 minute max) on my list. This helps as if I am feeling a lack of motivation, it helps to start with something small to get me going- and if I don’t get to it, a small item is easier to transfer to the next day.
3. Divide & Conquer
If items on your to-do list can be done by someone else, don’t be afraid to delegate! Read 6 Ways To Create More Time You could even give different coloured markers to cross off and get the competition going to speed up the chores!
For a busy family with older children a digital to-do list may be really useful as everyone can access it wherever and whenever they want. The free Picniic App is a great family organiser you should try out! You can add to do lists and delete completed tasks via your phone or tablet. A perfect way to share the load.
4. Add the Finer Points
Allocate a time slot to each task. It will help you plan your days and work out if you are being over-ambitious.
Add any details you may have, for example, if you need to call someone include the number so it saves you time later on.
Be specific with the tasks that need doing, for example, if you have a big project such as prepare for the kids birthday party, break it down. What specific tasks are you going to do at that time? Design the invitation, prepare the party bags etc. It will feel more manageable and you will be able to plot your way through the big project without missing anything.
Don’t create one massive list – it can be very overwhelming! Instead make several lists with very clear purposes.
I start with a big picture list which is my annual goal list (both personal and professional). I then break these down into monthly lists, then into weekly and then daily. This helps keep me on track of my bigger goals and means that everything I do is intentional.
I filter things down from the monthly/weekly lists into my daily list as and when I need them, which allows me to stay on track whilst not getting overwhelmed.
I also have a ‘life’ list where I include things that are more focused on what I want to achieve as a person, like a bucket list of experiences I want to have!
I find that one of the best tools to use for this is Trello which is perfect for storing the lists and moving things around to different places when required. If it is something that interests you I will do a tutorial on it sometime!
6. Don’t Stress!
If you don’t achieve everything on your list, don’t get stressed. Tomorrow is another day! But if you find yourself constantly transferring things on to the next days list, ask yourself why and if there is anything you can do to make it more appealing to tackle or even more achievable?
Lists are putting your goals and plans into action and once you have them, everything else is a breeze!
Write it/type it, get it done, cross it off!
Intentionalism at its best.
What are your top tips when it comes to making lists?
Simple Joy was founded by Hayley Forster, a Professional Organiser & Lifestyle Coach. Hayley is an advocate of intentional living, with a passion in helping others simplify their lives in order to find their ideal lifestyle full of contentment, creativity and authenticity!