Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Create to-do lists

Do you have a daily to-do list? I have experimented with not using one and using one. I've found that I don’t get nearly as much done during the day when I do not have one, so, I've gradually gotten in the habit of creating one on a daily basis, typically in the evening because by that time I know what’s been done during the current day.

There’s been a lot written about the best way to organize one. I've found that it’s not so much the way it’s organized that’s important but rather the fact that one has been created. Probably 90% of the benefit comes from having one and 10% comes from how you choose to organize it. Once you get in the habit of using one you will eventually find a style that works best for your cognitive style.

When I create a to-do list I simply write down all the tasks that I plan on completing the following day starting with the tasks that I am prioritizing. I’ll cross-reference it will my calendar which has items which were planned more in advance. I transfer items from the calendar to the to-do list, and number tasks according to their importance. Often I’ll list the time of day I want to start or complete them, creating a goals. I found that this promotes focus and motivation.

Sometimes I’ll draw lines linking tasks that are associated with one another in some way. For example, if one “task” is meeting up with a friend at 6 pm and another is to get a present at a nearby store, I’ll draw a line linking the two. If I didn't consciously link two associated tasks I would find myself backtracking once in a while. For instance I might go home after meeting up with a friend and realize later that I should have gone to the store while in the area.

In sum I think a to-do list will help make you a more productive and organized person. And there’s also the satisfaction of looking at checked off tasks throughout the day which can motivate you onwards.

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