Tips for Taming Your To-Do List

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A To Do List with a cup of coffee - Tips for Taming Your To-Do List
Pembrook Nelson
Pembrook Nelson
June 9, 2020
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Category:
Time Management

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UPDATED:
June 29, 2020

Everyone has a long list of things that they need to get done. Both at work and home, there's no shortage to the number of projects or chores that need to be completed at some point in time. If you're like most people, then you probably make a list of all of those items. This is your "To-Do List."

Of course, there's a difference between creating the list and getting things done. If you don't want to feel a little guilt or overwhelmed because you aren't getting your tasks completed, then taming your to-do list is imperative. Below are some tips on how you can achieve that goal.

1. Identify the Priorities‍

Priority concept with priority #1 circled in red

Not all of the items you have on your to-do list need to be done immediately, while some do. Thus, when you are creating your list, make sure you put the important stuff that needs to be done first near the top.

When it comes to determining what is essential stuff and what can be put off for later, you need to look at your schedule. If you are creating a to-do list for work, then you need to look at your due dates. For example, if your business listings need to be updated by the end of the week, then this is probably more important than trying to respond to every email.

Knowing when things are due will help you figure out what is essential and needs to be done first. The stuff that is due sooner should be the top priorities on your list.

2. Determine How Long Each Task Will Take‍

Laptop with a sand clock next to it

After you have organized your list and placed the critical items at the top, you'll then need to decide how much time it will take you to finish each task. It may not be possible to get everything done in one day, and you will probably have multiple things you need to work on. Thus, to make your to-do list less intimidating, focus on the things you can accomplish in a day.

For example, if you think your business listing project is going to take 4 hours to complete, then you might dedicate 1 hour each day to working on it. That way, it will be done on Friday when it's due. If you have projects that will only take 1 hour or less, then get them done as soon as possible.

Block out time on your calendar for the tasks you need to complete. This is another way you can stay focused and be able to cross things off your list — and nothing feels better than being able to cross tasks off your list.

3. Create and Stick to Boundaries‍

Once you have created your list and blocked out time to work on each task, you must create and stick to your commitment. If you don't, you'll get distracted and won't get any jobs on your list completed.

Woman working on her laptop while being focused

That means during the hour you are working on your list of businesses or responding to emails, that's all you do. If you need to transfer your phone to voicemail, close your office door, and close all tabs on your computer, do it. That way, you can stay completely focused on what you're doing to get your tasks completed.

Once the time for working on your task is up, it's up. Move on to the next item on your list or give yourself a short break. If it's time to go home, then you need to stop for a day and focus on spending time with your family or relaxing and unwinding. Don't worry; your list will still be there waiting for you. By creating and honoring your task list commitments, you'll be able to avoid burnout and feel less intimidated by the things on your list.

4. Stay Flexible‍

To Do List with sticky notes - To Do - In Progress - Done

Your tasks and priorities will probably change throughout the day. While it's essential to have a list of things you need to do, it's also crucial to stay flexible so that you can reorganize and reprioritize your list. Your tasks still need to get done and knowing what the current priority is to ensure you're working on the right projects at the right time.

It's also important to realize that you probably won't be able to complete everything on your list in one day — and that's okay. Go back to your list and determine what has been achieved and what you need to work on the next day.

5. Get Some Help‍

Everyone has a list of things that they need to accomplish. When it comes to taming your to-do list, it may feel like you will never get everything accomplished. In all honesty, you probably won't.

To-do lists are continually growing and changing, and there are always tasks that need to be taken care of. However, by focusing on the things that are the most important, you will be able to get the highest priority things done first so you can cross them off your list.

If your to-do list is overwhelming, you can always ask for help and delegate the lower priority tasks to someone else. At E-Marketing Associates, we can help with a wide range of functions, especially when it comes to marketing your small business. Whether you need help creating social media posts or monitoring your online reputation, we can help. If you're not sure how your business is performing online, get a free business report that will show you how your business stacks up against the competition.

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