The fight to be productive is a skill that every professional works to achieve. This skill can be hard to achieve with everything going on. It’s hard because you have to work out, meet deliverables at work, hang out with friends, etc. This is why I wanted to take a second and talk about a few things that have worked for me. I’m not saying I’ve mastered the art of productivity. But I feel like I’ve had some success when it comes to getting shit done. So, I wanted to provide 3 ways to make the most of your to-do list. These have worked for me and thought I’d share what I’ve learned.
After I’ve shared these 3 ways give it a try and let me know how it worked out for you. I would love to hear from you guys. Additionally, if you are looking for a book that will complement this article check out Atomic Habits by James Clear. Let’s discuss the 3 ways to make the most of your to-do list.
Make it Specific
The specificity of your to-do list provides you with the direction and purpose for your tasks. But what does making it specific mean? When writing out tasks on your to-do list you want to add detail. That way there is no question as to what needs to get done and when. For instance, if you say “need milk” it doesn’t demand any action from you. On the contrary, if you say “need milk from Walmart and its due by 9/28” that gives you the location and a respective end date.
Being as specific as you can with your tasks develops an actionable response from you. Take me for example, I’m old school I like using the good old pen and paper. I like to use words like “Get document signed by partner by Friday at 3 pm.” This is important because it gives me a timetable to get it done and it tells me who needs to sign it. I utilize pen and paper because I find it somewhat satisfying when I scratch out that tasks.
Make it Attainable
The attainability of your tasks allows you to gain confidence in scratching tasks off of your to-do lists. This is a big one. Because having unattainable tasks is a great way to get discouraged. Having attainable and specific tasks give you the ability to work towards building out processes for your day-to-day activities. Which helps you move the needle to whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.
What does it mean to make an attainable task? Well, think about it this way. If you put down “read 700 pages by tomorrow” that is most likely not going to happen. But if you say something like reading “40 pages by end of the day” that is a little more attainable and you’ll be that much closer to finishing the book. Might take a few more days than you intended but that’s okay. The goal is to finish the book but do it in a timeline that makes sense. The goal is challenging but attainable given the timetable.
Make it Effective
Last but not least you have to make your to-do list effective. If you have a to-do list with a bunch of random tasks that lead to nowhere you’re not going to get much out of the to-do list. The to-do list to me is something that will help you get through the more complicated, time-sensitive tasks that you have on a day-to-day basis. Saying you need to get milk is not something that will make or break your day. Unless you are a baker and need milk to cook. The point of the to-do list is to build better habits. If you build better habits you can create more free time for yourself. That’s the goal.
These 3 ways to make the most of our to-do list, are just 3 ways that have worked for me. I wouldn’t say this is the only way to make it work for you. Everyone is different, so find what works for you. Life gets overwhelming and you get lazy. I get that. When a to-do list is specific, attainable, and effective you have the chance to get the items on your to-do list done and out of the way.
To-do lists are a great way of getting immediate satisfaction and building good habits. Because of that, I felt that it was important to discuss how to make them effective. An effective to-do list allows you to get more tasks done and you build a lot of good habits in the process.
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