These days, there are all kinds of ways to get things done, and many people find that a to-do list is just what they need to stay on task. But not every mind works the same way and not every t0-do list will work for everyone.
If you want to hack your to-do list and make it custom-fit for you and your life, you have to consider a few different things. Do you want to use a traditional notepad, or would you rather go electronic? How seriously techie are you? How can you create the ideal tool for yourself?
Coach Tip: Google Sheets offers several templates that will help you get things done – check them out here. Other apps I love for getting things done are Google Calendar, Evernote, IdeaGrowr and Trello. And for my editorial calendar and daily schedule, I use a manually-written teacher’s planner that I’ve modified to fit my needs. 🙂
How do you get things done? What kind of to-do list do you think could work best for you?
Okay, so we know that to do lists help you track your activities and manage your time. Then again, what happens when your lists grow out of control because they’re too long or there are too many of them?
You might also like to read 127 Powerfully Simple Life Makeover Hacks: Easy Ways to Empower Yourself and Improve Your Life in 30 Days or Less.
Maybe the solution is using a different kind of list. Take a look at your options for designing an effective to do list, along with suggestions for using any productivity tool more effectively.
TO-DO LIST HACKS: How to Build a To-Do List That Works for You
1. Limit the length. Many experts recommend keeping your list as short as 3 to 5 items. Promptly cross off any tasks you complete. Move projects you’re unlikely to get to off to a separate wish list.
2. Consider categories. If you prefer longer lists, categories are one way to stay organized. Separate business and personal items. Group similar activities like shopping, reading, or making phone calls.
3. Juggle timelines. Maybe your projects are interrelated with structured stages and strict deadlines. Calendar functions and color-coding could help you strategize.
4. Add detail. When you need more than a simple list, create a full log. Build in supplementary information like daily summaries, phone numbers, and websites you visit frequently.
5. Block out your time. Do you tend to waste small blocks of time? Planning your day in 30-minute increments could help you spot when you’ll have 10 minutes free for filing or checking messages.
6. Choose paper or digital. You may already know that GTD stands for Get Things Done, and there are a growing number of GTD apps to choose from. On the other hand, paper journals are still popular too. What matters is using them consistently.
Tip: I find that a combination of the two works best for me. Check out my post on which electronic tools I use every day (over at OnlineWritingPro.com).
TO DO LIST HACKS: How to Use Any To Do List Effectively
1. Set priorities. A successful list lets you see your major responsibilities at a glance and approach them systematically. Arrange your list so your top concerns stand out.
2. Distinguish between urgency and importance. Prioritizing raises some tricky questions. Picking up your dry cleaning before the shop closes in 10 minutes is urgent. Spending time with your friends is less time sensitive, but contributes more to your wellbeing. Pay attention to essentials that may otherwise be bumped.
3. Automate routine tasks. Eliminate chores that robots and computers can do for you. Electronic banking frees up your time and gives you peace of mind knowing that your bills have been paid on time.
4. Build in leeway. Studies show that most adults underestimate the time it takes to complete many everyday tasks. Give yourself an extra 10 minutes between appointments. Assume that a new dinner recipe may take you 20 minutes to pull together even if the cookbook claims you can do it in 10.
5. Take a break. Put adequate rest and play on your list each day. It’s time well spent when it keeps you in top shape and prevents burnout.
6. Expect surprises. However comprehensive your list is, you’re sometimes going to run into circumstances that you couldn’t predict. Be prepared to shuffle your other obligations to the next week if your car breaks down or you win a trip to a tropical resort.
7. Evaluate your progress. Hold onto your lists so you can review them periodically. Repeat the practices that simplify your life and fix the patterns that are causing you delays.
Keep your personal and professional life in order. Whether you prefer writing in a notebook with colored markers or downloading the latest productivity app to multiple devices, there’s a to do list that will help you to stay on top of your game.
Okay, now it’s your turn! What are your best to-do list hacks? Share them in the comments.
Want more life hacks? I’m the Queen (Bee)! Check out my books at BooksAngieWrote.com.
“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery (more…)
Okay, before you get all “you’re so late on this post, why did you even bother?”, give me a second to explain.
Yes, I’m writing about the whole “Beyonce‘s thigh gap” issue. Yes, it’s like totally old news. But you know how sometimes, when you hear something and it pisses you off, but you can’t tell anyone around you because they’d either be bored or otherwise not understand what you mean (or maybe, they’re just not the right audience for your message)? And you know how you write it down (or type it down in a passionate fury on Evernote on your phone in the middle of the night, or whatever)?
And then, you know, sometimes you get busy, and you forget about it. But then later, you find it, and there it is, begging you to publish it because clearly, someone needs to read it today?
Wait, is that just me? Oh…but anyway.
Read: More Reasons to Love Your Big Butt
I ranted to my ever-loving Evernote app about how much people don’t recognize how their criticisms of women like Bey are so very significant in the lives of and so damaging to the spirits of young women (and not-so-young women, let’s be honest).
If you’re not feeling like reading a well-meaning, passionately overzealous rant today, you’ve totally got my permission to jump off here. Check out one of these articles instead, maybe. No worries, I promise.
Alright, for the rest of you. Here’s what goes on inside my head when I’m feeling all self-righteous about haterism. Ha. 🙂
Dear mean girls and boys,
Don’t you know when you try to make other people feel ugly, you’re just adding more ugly to your own energy space? Wanna feel really sexy? Try EMPOWERING each other for once.
Please stop talking a out Beyoncé ‘s damn thighs.
First of all, the woman is known for her delicious curves, among her many other assets. And I don’t believe she is under any pressure to have a thigh gap.
Secondly, while I appreciate Beyoncé and her efforts toward being the beautiful role model she is, you’re kind of screwing it up for all of us.
That’s because with your negative (jealous? just asking) ways, you are actively undoing the good the powerhouse has done (and continues to do) for women and girls by starting this stupid rumor.
See, while Mrs. Carter wants women to accept their bodies and clearly embraces the idea of strong, empowered women, y’all are over there trying to make us all believe that SHE believes that she needs a thigh gap. STOP THAT, please.
Seriously. Unless you’re blind and deaf, you cannot deny that the woman is gorgeous, regardless of whether or not her thighs touch. She knows it. Jay-Z knows it. We all know it. And you do too.
I guarantee you that she’s not sitting around worrying about this silly issue, and I wish you wouldn’t either.
If you won’t hear my plea on behalf of the adult women in your life, then think of the babies, the little girls…the young teens.
Think of all of the struggles they have today already with body acceptance issues, eating disorders…crippling self-esteem deficiencies.
What, that doesn’t get you right in the ticker? Then try something else.
Think about yourself, maybe, and your own issues. Maybe you could, this very moment, be blocking some kind of awesome success because you’re too worried about who’s photoshopping which body parts (and oh, just in case anyone was wondering, yes I do use awesome filters on my Facebook profile pics, and I’m totally okay with it!).
Don’t you want to try and change the things that aren’t working in your life? Why not just give this whole positive energy deal a shot. It certainly can’t hurt a thing; by the very nature of its existence it is toward what is good in the world, right?
What do you think? Is it sensible to put these negative connotations on one of the “good ones,” or on anyone at all? Doesn’t doing so take away from the potential benefit that Beyoncé or any other celebrity in the spotlight could offer those girls when it comes to self-acceptance and empowerment?
Let it go. Please.
You wanna make a stir in the world? Want to change the face of the tabloid news? Try catching people doing good things. You know. Unsuspecting do-gooders. And then how about giving them a split of the commission you earn?
Pay it forward. Try making the world a better place. You won’t regret it. Remember: everything you focus on, whatever energy you send out into the world comes back to you. So try putting some good out there. You will be amazed at what could happen.
As my friend Steve used to say, peace, love and doves, y’all.