Looking for ways to improve to-do lists? If you read enough articles on AWS on self-improvement topics, you will be aware that we regularly suggest that to-do lists help in multiple ways to drive you towards achieving your goals. But, it isn’t just a case of listing everything you need to do. Behind the to-do list should be the ambition and drive to actually tick the items off and achieve them. A list needs to work for you and be a good, relevant tool, not just a nagging reminder of everything you haven’t done. Use these ways to improve to-do lists and see how quickly you’ll start crossing things off.
1. Stick with Seven
Sticking to seven items is one of the easiest ways to improve to-do lists. If you think about it, all of the best lists – or at least, all of the most interesting lists – come in sevens. There are the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Heavenly Virtues, the Seven Wonders of the World and the Seven Ages of Man, and many more besides. Apparently, the reason why seven is a good number is because we find it hard to remember anything more than this number. Stick with 7 things or under with your lists and you’ll be more likely to remember them. That’s why this list is seven! (You may have also noticed that 7 is the magic number on AWS!)
2. Create a Deadline
One of the easiest ways to improve to-do lists is to set a time limit for each point in the list. After all, to-do lists are supposed to improve your time management – they are not simply a list that sits there in the hope of being ticked off, but if you don’t add the dimension of time then this is what is probably going to happen. If you don’t give yourself a deadline, the likelihood of you accomplishing those important tasks set out in your list diminishes. Dedicate a separate amount of time (with a clear deadline) to each task on your list. The most important thing is to be realistic and ensure that you give yourself enough time for each task.
3. Break down Larger Tasks
It is a common error to encapsulate a big task within a small note on your to-do list. Larger tasks should be broken down into separate points, which are each a separate thing to do on your list. Everyone knows that the most effective way to tackle a big task is to break it down into small, manageable pieces, so break down those larger tasks and you will naturally be able to handle them more quickly and effectively.
4. Get the Easy Stuff Done First
A simple way to improve to-do lists is to prioritize the easiest stuff first, and place the harder stuff further down the list. You shouldn’t run before you can walk, and there is no shame in getting the easier jobs out of the way first. Furthermore, by doing the easier stuff first, you can get yourself in the working frame of mind so that you are in the best position when the time comes to take care of the more difficult jobs.
5. Don’t Waste Time with Needless Lists
There are some people who have the list bug. For almost everything they have to do, they have a list for it, even for really short lists and redundant lists. The point is that you should only create a to-do list when there are so many little jobs to do that you can confidently assume that some of these tasks may slip your mind. If you can easily contain what you have to do in your head, then you are simply wasting time by writing it down.
6. Add Breaks to Your List
Here’s a way to improve to-do lists that you’ll surely agree with – add a few breaks into the timetable, to eat, relax, talk to your friends etc. This is a great thing to do when you have a big day ahead of you with lots of tasks to complete, because it keeps you motivated and enthusiastic and stops you from getting overworked and fed up.
7. Make Your List Dynamic
As you are getting on with the tasks laid out on your to-do list, chances are new things will come up. What do you do with these things? It might frustrate you to have to rearrange your to-do list or add new things to the schedule, but this is the best way to manage new and unexpected tasks that crop up. Add these new tasks to a special, separate part of your list. In doing this, you are acknowledging that these new tasks need to be done, but without getting in the way of your current scheduled tasks.
You really can make to-do lists work to your great benefit if you invest in a little time to make them easy to read and achievable. Set realistic goals and you’ll be better for it, and move forward faster than by trying to focus on too many things at once. What are your to-do lists like? Will these tips help?