When it comes to making to do lists in order to outline certain activities throughout the day, a week or even longer period of time, we have to consider some important points if we want to get the most out of them.
Why are to do lists important?
Well, having a to do list, organizes all your activities that have to get done. Sometimes we forget what needs to be done, and we simply shut down, if we can’t cope with everything.
That’s why having a to do list is important in order to bring your most important tasks to your awareness. When you write them down, you are less likely to forget them. Even if you do, you do not have to go through the hassle of remembering every single thing that has to be done.
This makes things more convenient when it comes to prioritizing and separating the urgent from the important.
As we know, the urgent things are temporary crisis, emergencies and things that usually have short term consequences
All important things, on another hand, have long term consequences that are going to impact your work the fullest. They are usually responsible for the 90% of the results you get.
Having that said, let me tell you how to structure a to do list for better accountability.
1) Brainstorm all activities on a sheet of paper – write down everything that has to be done that you can think of. Do not be shy, write until you exhaust yourself.
2) Take a look at each activity and ask yourself, “What’s the impact of doing this, when it comes to your work?” If the answer is too little or nothing, you want to scratch it off, and transfer all things you did not scratch on another sheet of paper
3) When you have all “high impact” activities, prioritize them in order of importance.
For example, “What’s the single activity that’s going to bring you the most of the money you make?” If having more money is your number one goal, then outline all money making activities within that list.
4) Take action. It’s a good practice to start with your most important tasks first. Work on it for one hour of uninterrupted chunk of time. Do not start, or get involved, in anything else within that one hour of work.
After you finish, stop, even if the task in not complete yet. Take 10-20 minutes break, and come back to it for another 1 hour of uninterrupted chunk of time, until the task is complete.
Before you go to the next task on your to do list, you want to make sure the first one is finished.
It’s critical to bring things to completion, even if they do not look “perfect” at first. In reality, you do not know what perfect means, unless you see certain results out of what you’ve done.
Most people get caught up in making things perfect, without realizing that this wastes tremendous amount of time.
Start the task, finish it imperfect, and go to the next one.
After certain period of time, you may come back and tweak things that did not work after you tested them.
There’s a difference between assumption and a fact. Assumptions are all the things we assume to be perfect, and facts are based on proven tests or data that is accountable for the results we get.
If to do lists do not work for you …
I’d like to give you some reasons why to do lists do not work for some people. What you might be doing wrong and what you can do instead?