When your to-do list starts getting long, it gets easier to freak out about everything you have to do. And, as we all know, freaking out doesn’t help much in the avenue of productivity. However, there are several ways to take the burden off of creating a to-do list. In many cases, this can make that to-do list easier to complete than ever before! Here’s a few suggestions on how to create an effective to-do list.
1. Keep your to-do list short & sweet.
Easy for us to say, right? However, according to The Muse, one of the most effective strategies in creating a to-do list is to follow the “1-3-5 Rule.” This rule asserts that on any given day, a person can complete one large task, three medium-size tasks, and five small tasks. That way, you’re still achieving so many things, but they’re not all completely wreaking havoc on your brain or nerves. Amazing!
2. Prioritize and categorize your tasks.
Similarly to the 1-3-5 Rule, it’s important to have high, medium, and low priority tasks on your list. That way, you can focus on the highest priority first, and use the lower priority tasks as a kind of break from the stress. For example, if you need to submit a spreadsheet by the end of the day, that’s definitely something to prioritize over an email you need to send by the end of the week. However, if you start drowning in the spreadsheet, it’s perfectly reasonable to take a break and start drafting that email. Plus, you’re getting a little ahead of schedule, too!
3. Set realistic goals and checkpoints.
You’re not going to change the world or start running the entire business in a single day. If you put that expectation on yourself, you’re doing far more harm than good. Setting realistic goals can mean anything from making sure you return a jacket you borrowed to its owner to officially putting down a payment for a purchase you’re making.
If you have to accomplish something that’ll take longer than a day, don’t write the outcome on your to-do list. Instead, break it down into steps that’ll get you to that outcome. By breaking down a big project into smaller steps, you’re making it less stressful to take on, and more achievable as well. Baby steps are the way to go.
4. Reschedule the incomplete tasks – and acknowledge the completed ones.
If there’s an item or two you couldn’t quite get to on a certain day, don’t sweat it. Move it to a day or two later in your schedule. Psychologically, humans are incredibly prone to overestimating the things they can get done in a day. It’s in our nature to believe we can defy the laws of time and do all the things we think we need to! However, there’s absolutely no shame in putting off some tasks until a day or two later. You’ll get them done! Most importantly, though, acknowledge all the things you were able to get done. Praise yourself for the progress you made, and prepare yourself for the next day! Self-appreciation is an incredibly valuable thing; don’t pass up the opportunity to lift yourself up.
Whether you prefer a paper to-do list or online reminders, we hope these four suggestions will help you create more effective lists each day! If you can’t quite get to all your responsibilities and need a partner to help with the day-to-day operations of your business’s marketing strategy, look no further. Reach out to us here at Blackwood Creative – we’d love to work with you to increase your brand awareness and create something beautiful!