Top Tips to Planning, Organising and Prioritising your To Do List
Lord knows we at POP love a list as do many people out there but when is a list just a bunch of words on a piece of paper or on your screen and when is it the kick ass reason that you have got things running so smoothly in your day to day life?
A little like joining a gym but never turning up. We all know that feeling right!
So, here are our top tips to how to make a list work for you.
ONE STEP AT A TIME
How do you eat an Elephant? One chunk at a time. Not that we will be eating those magnificent creatures any time soon, but you get the idea. Sometimes what we need to achieve is so huge that we get paralysed and can’t even start. Break a big task down into smaller steps. i.e Do not write on your list, Plan the Office Christmas Party. That is going to keep moving from one week to the next. Instead do Book a Venue for Christmas Party / Work out Numbers / Find a Caterer / Order Decorations. That is way more manageable. One item a day or a couple every week and that party will be organised before you know it.
What we do at POP is write one big TO DO list, think of it as a brain dump, then Asterix or number the ones that are the most important or urgent. Then we start allocating the items to the days of the week in order of importance. Ideally, we love to do this on a Sunday night so you bounce out of bed on Monday knowing exactly what lies ahead of you and what your day and the week ahead look like. If Sundays are a NO GO work zone for you then sit down first thing Monday morning and get that week planned out.
Some things on your list are going to take a few minutes and some a few hours or even days. I always try and do all the quick ones first. As soon as they are ticked off your mind will be way less cluttered and ready to move on to the bigger tasks. Just make sure you do not only focus on the small stuff and ignore the big important ones.
Make sure that you are being realistic when you start creating your daily lists. If you over commit yourself and do not get things done, you will start feeling crap and things start spiraling. You need to make things achievable and then you will create good vibes within yourself.
Once you do your brain dump you may need to move some items into next weeks list.
CHECK IN DAILY
Each morning, spend 5 minutes going over your list and make sure it’s still achievable. A meeting may have been scheduled in last minute or something took longer than anticipated meaning you need to make some changes. This will give you clarity for the entire day and will not leave you feeling guilty that you didn’t get things done. At the end of the week if any items did not get done, move them into the following week.
GIVE YOURSELF A BIG TICK
The satisfaction one gets in crossing a line or placing a tick next to a completed item is amazing. It’s like a little that sugar rush you get from the 4pm chocolate bar. Give yourself a big pat on the back.
DECIDE WHAT MEDIUM WORKS BEST FOR YOU
We here at Pop are of course, 100% for writing things down on paper, preferably in the Pop Planner but we know we are still changing the world one day at a time. There are plenty of studies that show that writing on paper commits things to memory more than typing. I don’t know about you, but I am typing stuff into all my screens 24/7 and I find that if I pop something down on an online list, it’s gone from my memory as soon as I put it in. Poof, gone!!!
We are both total tech/gadget lovers but planning our lives successfully is all done on paper with a few things doubled up online.
That said, if it’s still not your speed there are so many great apps you can use from calendar, google notes, apple notes, wunderlist, evernote to name a few.
Do what works for you.
If you choose paper, we think erasable pens are the bees knees. Don’t forget you can snap a pic of your list and have it on your phone. That is the best of both worlds.
Honestly, keeping on top of a To Do List really does reduce anxiety and overwhelm, making you be the most productive you can be and ultimately giving you more time to do the things you love or to just simply have some down time.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- Write multiple lists in multiple places and on tiny bits of losable paper
- Forget to check in with your list after creating it
- Have too many things on the list, making it unachievable
- Only doing the easy stuff and neglect the bigger, more important items
- Think you will simply remember everything yourself – this is a BIG no no