Career and Jobs

Busy Professionals: Here’s A Formula For Writing The Perfect To-Do List

Everybody loves a to-do list. It helps us feel organized and productive, right? But the truth is that if you write them the wrong way, they can actually be counter-productive. Have you ever gone to bed feeling like a failure because you only completed three of the twelve items on your to-do list? Or maybe you’ve had a week filled with to-do list items that just cycle forward from one day to the next so Friday’s list looks eerily similar to Monday’s? That’ll certainly leave you feeling unproductive at the end of the week.

The good news is that there is a better way—a way to write to-do lists that actively help you navigate your day and motivate task completion. Author of Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You, Paula Rizzo insists that there’s a formula for creating the perfect to-do list.

Recognizing that for most busy professionals, our attention is constantly being pulled in different directions, Paul Rizzo insists that a to-do list can be a critically important productivity weapon. “A to-do list is a roadmap for your day,” she explains. “Having set an intention with what you want to get done in your day is extremely powerful since you’re more likely to do something if you write it down.” An expert in everything lists, Rizzo notes that there are many common mistakes professionals make when crafting their to-do lists, and she offers some valuable tips for how to curate the perfect to-do list.

Tip #1 – Separate personal and professional items

Rizzo insists that many professionals make the classic mistake of dumping anything and everything into their to-do list which diminishes its effectiveness by forcing our brains to constantly switch between unrelated topics. “It’s hard for your mind to grasp what it needs to do when it first has to decipher your list,” she explains. “Home to-dos and work to-dos should be separate. They can be on the same piece of paper but they should be in their own columns.” If you feel the need to write down a huge brain dump of everything that needs to get done, that’s fine, but Rizzo suggests extracting more targeted daily lists from there with separate section for personal and professional tasks.

Tip #2 – Write very specific tasks

Another classic mistake is writing overly generic phrases on your list like “team retreat,” “grandma’s birthday,” or “book research.” The real power of a to-do list is its ability to offer focus and direction throughout the day, but if the items scribbled are vague and generic, they can’t really do that. Instead, Rizzo insists that list items be very specific – e.g. “Order scarf for grandma on Amazon” instead of “grandma’s birthday.” Typically, more specific statements are also more actionable so making them specific tends to increase the likelihood of completion.

Tip #3 – Write a list that is actually achievable

No one wants to look at a to-do list at the end of the day that’s only half completed (or worse) so it’s important to be realistic as you develop your list and only include items that are achievable. Rizzo recommends writing a daily to-do list because it forces you to prioritize. “I like to make my daily to-do list every night before I leave my desk as a shutdown ritual,” explains Rizzo. “I think about all the things I need to do and only write those things that I have the time and resources to do the next day.” If you have larger projects that will likely span a few days or longer, break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks and list only those achievable elements. For example, during tax season you may carve out small tasks to complete each day (e.g. record Q1 credit card charges in Quickbooks) to help you work towards your ultimate goal.

Tip #4 – Anticipate interruptions

Seasoned professionals know that the most meticulously curated to-do list is no match for the unpredictable whims of real life, so Rizzo recommends acknowledging and anticipating those predictable interruptions by keeping a section of your to-do list as a distraction placeholder. “Whenever I get interrupted, I pause before jumping into the new task (this takes practice), and I write down what I was in the middle of doing,” she explains. “That way when I return to the task I was doing I will know exactly where I was.” This practical, malleable approach allows your to-do list to serve you in a realistic way—ebbing and flowing with the unpredictable curve balls that might come your way throughout the day.

There’s a reason why to-do lists are so popular. Days can be so hectic, and time is our most precious resource. We absolutely want to use our time well, accomplishing the tasks that help us move closer to our goals each day, week, month, year. As we’re increasingly bombarded with technology, there’s something calming and nurturing about the familiarity of picking up a pad of paper and pen to jot down a few items that we want to accomplish. For many that simple, familiar ritual provides a sense of organization, focus and accomplishment in an increasingly frenetic world that constantly sends the subliminal message that we’re behind. So, let’s fully embrace the good old to-do list but embrace it in a newer, fresher way that unleashes its full power to help keep us all on track.

Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News

Source link

Back to top button