Productivity

10 Tips & Tricks for the Ultimate To-Do Checklist for Work

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Employees that are looking to streamline their day to day process or to increase their overall output typically look towards to-do lists, checklist apps, or software tools that help them prioritize tasks and responsibilities. Take a moment to browse the tips and tricks below to learn how you can get the most done with your to-do checklist.

1. Stop Being So Vague

Don’t waste your time writing a to-do list if you are not going to have concrete goals. The main reason these lists of ours inspire us is because they force us to take vague objectives and transform them into realistic, quantifiable, and concrete tasks. You’ll never get around to tasks that are as a vague as: “Lose weight” or “Organize Your Desk” — so don’t bother writing them down. Get more granular. Try “Go on a mile run at 4pm” or “File all paperwork on desk before the end of day.”

2. Pick Your Favorite Medium

With the explosion of software tools and mobile apps as a means to increasing productivity both at home and in the office, you have an incredible amount of options when it comes to the way you want your list to look. Keep it simple and sophisticated with a pen and paper, or get colorful and organized with a mobile app or software tool. Keep in mind that according to research, the physical act of writing can sometimes help us remember things!

3. Make it a Game

If you are a procrastinator, or you just simply have a hard time finding inspiration, there are a number of software tools that use gamification to enhance your to do list experience and success.

4. Short and Sweet

Bullet notes are immensely valuable when trying to create a document that is easily scannable. Because you will be re-visiting your to-do list multiple times throughout the day, week, or even year, it is imperative that you can skim your list quickly. Use bullets, color coordinate, or utilize the simple asterisk to label your most important points. If your to-do list takes longer than a minute to skim, you need to break it down.

5. Identify The Top 3 Tasks

What are the three most important things that MUST BE DONE on the list? The top 3 tasks should be listed first and highlighted as important. Having the most important tasks at the top of your list reduces the likelihood that a deliverable is swept under the rug.

6. Identify The Easy 3 Tasks

Identify the 3 tasks that will be easiest for you to tackle. What are some basic housekeeping duties that you can do to boost productivity without too much time? Typically, your easy 3 will not require creativity or too much thought. They are your typical, day-to-day deliverables such as cleaning out your inbox or eating lunch.

7. Don’t Hold Back Info

When putting together your to-do list, make sure that any task-associated information is visible and listed. For example, if a bullet on your list is to call someone back, include their phone number right there. If you have all the information required to get a task done, the chances of you failing to complete it are greatly reduced.

8. You Need More Than One List

It would be frustrating and overwhelming for any individual to live off of one to-do list. Many times, people create to-do lists for both work and home, and to intertwine these would be an instant headache. Additionally, short and long term goals should not be on the same list because they require varying levels of effort from the individual. Keep the lists thematic and only focus on one at a time.

9. Quantify It!

After your to-do list is complete, attach time estimates to each required task. This will help you to visualize what is realistic to complete by the end of day, week, or month.

10. Get Accountable

If you have a history of losing your lists or ignoring your priorities consider making your to-do lists public or joining a group that holds you accountable for your goals. This has become increasingly popular for online workout communities; members upload their goals so that the entire group has visibility and inspiration. The fear associated with public failure encourages people to create realistic and achievable lists.

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