Productivity can be a challenge for anyone, and one of the keys to productivity is preparation. One of the simplest forms of prep-work prior to a busy day is to develop a to-do list, but there are a few tricks to the creation of a task list. Your goal is to have a list that really works for you.
- Create and Analyze Your To-Do List
The best approach to forming your to-do list is to prepare it as a first draft. In this approach, do not limit yourself initially; just get all of your wants on the list. After your list is done, it will be time for the edit. In this stage, you eliminate the items that are unnecessary, which should include unproductive things or items that are to be completed by someone else.
Once your list has been pared down, it is time to prioritize items within your list. The best approach here is to determine the most pressing and important issues you have on your list and move them to the top. You may also find that you have some urgent matters that are not necessarily important. They can be moved down on the list. Important items that are in no hurry should be on your list as well, but they may occupy a lower position on your list.
2. What Comes First?
Once you have identified those urgent, important matters at the top of your list, it is time to focus on those items. Plan your day around accomplishing just those things to start. You may find that the list is short, and includes only a few items so your next step is to allocate the time you will spend on each item. In practice, you will find that you never allocate enough time, so go ahead and double whatever time you allowed for the task. If you finish early your sense of accomplishment will soar, and you might wind up with some free time at the end of the day!
3. Get to Work!
Your next step is to start ticking those items off your list. It is very important to stay focused at this stage and stay on task. Do not allow the items that are lower on your list to interrupt or distract you. If one of those items that you dropped off your list earlier peeks its little head into the room, you will need to ignore that with extreme prejudice and hold the line.
Productivity is relative to the expectations we place on ourselves. Stay realistic, stay focused, and use a task list that works for you.