Managing A To-Do List

Time Management and To-Do List Tips

Even the strongest and most self-determined need a little structure and guidance to keep as productive as possible.  There needs to be some type of long-term plan and system in place, even if it’s as basic as a running “to-do” list.  But, why settle for a simple grocery checklist?  Take your organization to the next level, and your achievements with it.  There are different lists you can make to motivate and keep your eyes on the prize, without overwhelming you with too much on your plate.  Here are a few examples.

Handling Basic To-dos

We start with everyone’s favorite; checklists.  To-do lists can be extremely helpful reminders for the day or week’s tasks.  It’s important to keep them limited to things that you know you can complete in a day’s worth or less.  Try to avoid adding your long-term goals onto the lists, i.e. things that will take more than a few days to accomplish.  Keep reading to see how you can manage these goals more efficiently.

Projects Lists

Great for planning lists that require steps to complete, i.e. A) must be done before B) can be started, so as to be organized without swamping all of your goals and other responsibilities.  This can also be what usually comes out of a great brainstorming session.  In fact, it becomes very easy and natural to form your project lists around the quick mapping out of ideas, with the finer details that show the progression to the ultimate goal.

It also helps to have a digital representation of your projects, so that it may be easy for you to go back and edit things as you would with a whiteboard.  A simple MS Word or Excel spreadsheet can get the job done.  Other project management software, such as One Note or Evernote allows for much more creative and comprehensive management of your lists, although they can be overwhelming at first.

Keeping a Running List

These types of lists are best for logging your interests and ideas you have throughout the day.  Some people use it as a sort of side commentary, separate from important to-do lists or project tasks.  That way, when you get home after a long day, you can refer to thoughts or ideas that you had in your head, but wasn’t sure when you’d be able to get around to doing/checking out.

Lists are very underrated and underappreciated.  It might be because it reminds a lot of us of all the dreaded note-taking required from us in school.  Some people really loved taking notes and studying, but of course not all of us learn or work the same way.  It is important to have some level of management if you are to be successful in life and have some level of control over the stress levels that we encounter on a daily basis.

In order to learn from mistakes and grow towards bigger and better things, it just makes sense to keep a record of where you’ve come from and where you’re going.  Use lists as tools to keep you grounded, but don’t allow them to hold you down.

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