Be the boss of your to-do list

Let’s face it, we all have tasks to do. How we manage those tasks change from person to person, but generally you will find some sort of to-do list useful. Using to-do lists in a business environment improves productivity – you just need to look at what tasks you need to do and tick them off accordingly.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

But often, to-do lists become part of the workload themselves. They grow exponentially and become unmanageable, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and ineffective. 

By tailoring your to-do lists with a few easy steps, you can regain control of your tasks at hand, and feel overwhelmed no longer!

1. Write it the night before

Better to wake up with a list in front of you than a blank piece of paper/document/spreadsheet. It shouldn’t take longer than a few minutes and will allow you to hit the ground running in the morning.

2. Start your tasks with an actionable verb.

And we don’t mean ones like ‘reach out’, ‘explore’, ‘plan’, or ‘touch base’. Use precise language and unambiguous verbs. For example:

  • text Sandip about lunchtime meeting
  • email client about query

3. Justify each task on the list

With each point, ask yourself: why am I adding this? If you don’t plan to act on it, remove it. Finally, rank and prioritise those that are important, not just urgent.

4. Make time estimates

Not all tasks take the same amount of time. By adding an estimation to your tasks you will see if a task is too big to handle or whether you need to review other tasks in order to manage your time effectively.

Person in an office smiling face-on to camera with rear view of a person's head in foreground

5. Review your to-do list

Whether it’s daily or weekly, it’s critical to review your to-do list to make sure that everything is progressing as it should be. As with the creation of the list, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and will help you to make sure the next one you do will be even more streamlined and effective.

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