We all have a million and one things we want to accomplish. Too often, though, we end up feeling like failures when we don’t finish the tasks on our to-do lists. Today, I’m going to share my top 8 tips to conquer your to-do list like a boss!
1. Set goals for the day, week, and month. We’re all guilty of putting things on our to-do lists that we don’t actually have any intention of doing. Our daily list turns into our dumping ground for all of the thoughts in our heads. Separating these goals into different categories can really cut down the actual list for each day.
2. Estimate project time. If you have a big project that you need to turn in today, don’t add a bunch of other items onto your already packed to-do list. Not all line items are created equally. Being realistic about how long each item will take you gives you a better chance of knocking them all off of your list.
3. Two words: Airplane Mode. I know that my phone distracts me. I could easily waste away hours upon hours of precious time on my phone. For that reason, I put my phone on silent (or on airplane mode) for blocks of time where I want to really stay focused. This cuts out time-eating distractions.
4. Take advantage of your prime time. Everyone is different on this one. I’ve learned that I feel most creative and productive at night. If you feel your best first thing in the morning, then don’t take meetings during that time. Use it to your advantage and get through some line items. Then, use your typically less motivated block of the day to schedule your meetings. This will force you to still be accountable, but not waste your prime time.
5. Pump yourself up. I love listening to music first thing in the morning (and maybe have a little dance party). It gets me excited for the day and energizes me right off the bat. Maybe you like to read and sip hot coffee, work out, or cook up a gourmet breakfast — whatever it is that gets your day started off on the right foot, do it!
6. Prioritize what needs to get done. What needs to be done will always trump what you want to get done. If you fill your to-do list with items you want to complete, you will never get it all done because necessary items will pop up and all of the sudden your entire list is on the back burner for more important items.
7. Use ONE method to track your progress. I like to write out my lists on paper because I get satisfaction out of physically crossing off each item. If you like to do it electronically, that’s great too. Just choose one though. If you have lists scattered around your house on post-its, in your notes app on your phone, and in a notebook on your desk, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and not know where to start. Keeping one place for everything will help you have a clear plan.
8. Start. It seems silly to say this, but I think at some point we all over-analyze our lists and think too far into them. Make a list and just start; if you have to adjust later, by all means, adjust. Sometimes just starting somewhere will give us the boost we need to get through the rest of it.
I hope these tips will help you knock out your list and become a productivity master!