Do you have a rock solid to-do system that captures everything you need to do? Or are you sometimes left with a vague sense that there might be something you’re supposed to do, without a clear sense of what that is?
Not having your to-dos sorted out in a clear system can be an incredible source of stress. You can’t ever know for sure whether or not you’re dropping the ball on something.
Conversely, having a great system for tracking all your tasks will relieve you of a lot of stress, make you much more efficient and make you more reliable professionally.
Here’s how to sort out your to-dos for maximum mental clarity.
==> Identify All Your To-Dos
Start by identifying each and every task you need to do, big or small.
This could be something as simple as buying new post-it notes to something as complex as asking for a raise.
For every single thing that you need to do professionally, write it down somewhere. Some people prefer digital task lists, while others prefer physical ones where tasks can be crossed off.
Spend a good hour scouring your email, your desk, your inbox tray, your pockets and your folders for tasks that need to be done. Write everything down in one place.
==> Creating a System to Track To-Dos
Once you have all your existing to-dos in one place, the next step is to come up with a system that’ll allow you to add to-dos to this list from anywhere.
What happens if you get an email while you’re on your home computer? What happens if you come up with an idea while at the grocery store? What happens if you get a to-do via phone call while you’re at the car wash?
You need a system that allows you to add to your to-do list from anywhere. Perhaps the easiest system is to write these to-dos down, then get in the habit of adding them to your master task list once or twice a day.
==> Doing Your Tasks
Sort your tasks using some sort of system that makes sense to you. Two of the most common systems are chronological and by project.
With a chronological system, you just sort your tasks by when they need to be done. You delete tasks as you finish them and keep an eye on the tasks that are coming up the queue.
A by-project task system organizes all the tasks by the projects they belong to. When you’re working on a specific project, you can just open up that project’s to-do list and do the next item.
Having a systematic way of sorting your to-dos will take away much of the stress of not knowing whether or not you have unfulfilled obligations. It’ll also make you more efficient in general.