Many successful, high performers use to-do lists to take care of tasks and to achieve their goals.
One big list of your goals or tasks without any indication of organization won’t help you at all. You can start off by listing everything you need to accomplish, but if it’s not organized in any manner, you won’t know where to begin.
Create a Master List
The big list, however, is a good place to begin. Create a master list – this will be your good, old-fashioned brain dump. Combine all of your lists from wherever you’ve taken down your notes, from your phone, from your notebook, or from any stickies you have laying around.
Any task that is on your mind belongs on this list.
Divide & Conquer
Break down your master list. Divide your list and categorize your tasks.
There are various ways you can do this. You can categorize your lists by areas of life or by priority. A few examples are:
- Health & Fitness
If you don’t categorize your lists by priority, do so once you’ve placed each goal or task in the appropriate list.
Now that you’ve got your “sub” lists, break those down to even smaller tasks:
“Job interview preparation” becomes
- Research interview questions
- Research company
- Research location and commute
- Print resume
- Practice interview skills
- Sweep and mop the floors
- Scrub bathroom
- Catch up on laundry
Suddenly, your list is longer, but your tasks are much more manageable because you fully understand what needs to be done. These goals are broken up with milestones.
Taking your master task list from the length of a CVS receipt filled with stressful things you need to tackle and breaking them down into easily achievable goals will increase your productivity. You’ll start checking things off your to-do list in no time!
Your improved task list should provide you with better guidance.
A Manageable List
When it’s all said and done, your task list should have the following markers:
- Helps you prioritize
- Breaks down large tasks
- Gives guidance, not dread
- Provides deadlines
- Depending on how often you plan, it’s do-able in one day
- Keeps you to accomplishing 3-5 major tasks a day
- It’s revisited and revised throughout the day
- Format is scannable and easily understood