I could not live without my to-do list and I want to share a little secret that I learned from my mom long ago. It’s okay to write down things you have already done! Now, you may not need to do this, but I find that it helps me feel good about what I have accomplished. Just because I didn’t write it down before I completed it does not mean that I didn’t do it.
I also want to talk about prioritizing the list. I have my good days and my bad days in terms of prioritizing so let’s talk about a few strategies:
1. Get the big stuff out of the way first: Megan Auman wrote about this tactic the other day here. She writes about how you can use this tactic to make sure that the important items get done. Her reasoning is that once you get the big stuff done, doing all the small things will seem like a reward.
2. Get started by crossing a few things off the list: This tends to be my strategy. I usually get up in the morning and head right for my office. I tend to check email & blogs before I have breakfast or get dressed. Eek! But since that is how I start the day, I have a hard time tackling the big things right then so I try and accomplish a few small things on my list to get me going. When I’m feeling good and in a rhythm, I’ll tackle a biggie. Granted, sometimes I never get around to the big things on the list because the small stuff takes up the entire day but it doesn’t happen that often.
3. Separate the list into short & long term projects: Your list will surely have some projects that will be completed in that day and s few projects that you are working on long term. You need to make sure that the items that need to be accomplished that day get done and use any leftover time for the ongoing projects. Again, you need to make sure that you leave a little time for those at the end of the day.
4. Find projects that you can accomplish in small pockets of time: For me, I find it helpful to have a few ongoing projects that I can chip away at in small pockets of time. These are best when they are mindless busy work kind of projects. I am lucky to have paper to count, separate & package. I can get some of this done while I am waiting on other stuff to happen. I can fold a lot of cards in half an hour. I feel good that I have not wasted the time and before I know it, the project is done without me setting any time aside for it.
Getting your list in order is essential to making sure you get everything done and staying organized!
**Image via Modernemotive**