A large part of my daily routine consists of organizing my day in my planner, and creating a daily to-do list. Making a list helps me to think in a more streamline way. It also gives me a physical way to track my progress during the day; not to mention that nothing is more rewarding than crossing something off the list! Over time I’ve learned that there is a method to the madness that is list making. While everyone’s list has to function to best suit there needs, there are a few universal do’s and don’ts of list making.
Do prioritize your list. I usually mark things that have to be done with urgency with an asterisk so that I know to attend to them first.
Don’t place items on your list that you do not need to or intend to focus on. Just because it exists in your world doesn’t mean it has to exist on your list! No need to add “write and schedule 5 blog posts” if you know it isn’t necessary and that you don’t really want to do it. Be realistic and practical.
Do organize or color code your list. Color coding just helps the small OCD student in me breathe easier. Keeping like items together is also another awesome way to track your progress.
Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by your list. Remember that you are taking the first steps to getting organized and getting things done. That’s something to be celebrated!
Do check things off of your list! I promise it’s the most amazing feeling! Rewarding yourself as you go will encourage you to power through.
Don’t add distractions to your list. Try to focus on action items that require your focus and attention. However…
Do take breaks from your list. If you find that you’ve hit a wall, take 5 or so minutes to step away from what you’re doing. Take a walk, listen to a song, make a cup of coffee.
Don’t leave your list where you can’t access it. What help would that be?! If you aren’t a pen and paper kind of list maker, go digital with apps like Evernote.
Do consider your available time. Don’t overload yourself with tasks if you know you are tied up with other commitments. If you only have a small amount of time to get non-daily (checking email, going to work, ect) tasks done, your list should reflect that.
Do you make lists? How do you keep your lists organized and effective?