If you’re anything like me, effective to do lists are a necessity in life. They are something akin to that first cup of coffee in the morning. If you don’t have it, your entire day seems off. But, unfortunately, many of us misplace our list or feel overwhelmed because we want to do all the things! Those are issues that have caused me tremendous frustration in the past. I have spent valuable task achieving time in search of a slip of paper, receipt or envelope I hurriedly scratched my list on. It is a well-known fact that most successful people write things down, especially their goals and many times their almighty to do list.
People have used and researched task completion for ages. I 1920 Bluma Zegarnik noticed that people remembered incomplete tasks better than completed one. This became known as the Zegarnik effect, and yes she was a woman. Writing things down has scientifically been proven to assist in the ability to focus on other tasks. On the other hand, people were continuously distracted from a task at hand taken a ‘brain dump’. In an experiment by Masicampo and Baumeister, it was shown that once a tasks was written down the various activation and interference effects were eliminated. Basically, people could actually focus on getting stuff done! Unwritten tasks or goals roam around in your head causing havoc whenever you tried to focus on something else. Basically, they are whiny, spoiled brats that want all the attention.
So what does this all this research mambo jambo mean for you exactly? It means if you haven’t already, you need to get started on your to do list. And if you have one, you need to put it to better use for higher production efficiency. To do lists help with productivity by giving you a basis to house all of your needed tasks outside of your head, make you feel so much more organized and if nothing else serve to silence the cries of the brat of unfinished tasks in your head! Let’s talk about how to craft an effective to do list.
Create a master list
Like I stated, getting overwhelmed with the to do-ness of life is fairly common in today’s society. Creating a master list will and can definitely assist with giving you peace and freedom from the feeling over overwhelm. It is basically a brain dump with everything possible that you can think of you have to accomplish. You can read more about crafting a productive to do list here.
Choose a platform or area
Most of us live with our phones within in arms reach so what better way to keep up with your tasks than using a phone or tablet. Use one the notes section of your phone or download apps created solely to house your to do list. Personally, I like the nostalgia of putting pen to paper and this is my method of choice. Physically scratching off a completed tasks or chore brings so much satisfaction to my soul. However, if you do like to write out your list make sure you have a designated spot for it, on the fridge, in a notebook or planner. This way you don’t run into the frustration of losing your precious list. There are lots of notebooks and planners solely dedicated to do list, or you can download the attachement below.
Make sure you are using priority methods. Meaning, prioritizing task from least to most important. Also, prioritize what will take the least time to the most. Knock out the easy things so you can whittle away at that list much faster.
Breaking larger tasks down into smaller tasks also helps to alleviate feeling overwhelm. Keep your master list around so you can refer back to it and brain dump when necessary to quiet your mind. Have your smaller list available at most times to knock those things out immediately.
Scratch off, celebrate, repeat
Make sure you are scratching off things you accomplished and after your list is full of check marks start a new. It is so gratifying to see a completed page of to do’s that some people hold on to them. Celebrate your small accomplishments, because in essence those are the big one’s!
The tips shared here are the foundations of a great to do list. Put into place they will create a sense of organization, ease and accomplishments so get started today!
What has been your biggest struggle with to do list? I would love to know in the comments below.
Get your free To Do list Printable here