When it comes to managing time and energy, no tool is more frequently used than the to-do list. The concept is simple: keep a list of all the things you need to do. But actually using a to-do list in a way that helps you reduce stress and get more done is actually quite involved.
Instead of just writing everything you need to do on a list, it’s best to have a system. Here are a few techniques you might want to adopt with your to-do list.
==> Create Different Lists for Different Places
What’s the point of having actions you can only perform at home on your to-do list when you’re at work? Likewise, what’s the point in having things you can only do at the grocery store on your list at work?
Having all your to-dos in one list crowds the list and causes subconscious stress. It also reduces your sense of accomplishment, as you’re always looking at a big list of things you haven’t finished.
Instead, separate your lists. Have a list for home, a list for work, a list for shopping and a list for any other major area of your life.
That way, when you’re at work you’ll only be seeing your work tasks. At home, you’ll see your home tasks.
==> Remove or Store Any Non-Action Items
Any item that doesn’t involve you taking direct action should be filed away. For example, let’s say you have on your to-do list to plan for your ski vacation, nine months away.
However, you won’t know what area of the world you’ll want to ski in until wintertime is closer. You’ve already put in your request for time off, so all you need to do now is wait.
Practically, there is no action for you to perform. Instead of having it weigh down your list, just put it in a separate folder. This folder can store all the projects in your life that you aren’t actively working on.
==> Put Waiting Fors in a Folder
If you’re waiting for someone to get back to you on something, put that task in a separate folder. Again, you don’t want to be staring at actions that you can’t do anything about. But you don’t want to forget about these either.
==> Review Your List Daily
Spend 10 minutes each morning reviewing your to-do list for the day. Add or remove anything that should be added or removed. Look through your waiting for folder to see if there have been any changes to any tasks.
These habits will help you keep your to-do list lean and efficient. You’ll be able to quickly glance at your list, identify things that need to be done and do them. At the end of the day, you can look at all the things you’ve checked off and feel a sense of accomplishment.