Wednesday, 4 January 2012

5 Steps To Get Maximum Out Of Your To-Do-List

On six different occasions within last three years, I promised myself that I will make and follow my To-Do religiously. Every single time I started off spectacularly, accomplishing most of what I wrote down in my list. But every single time, this newly-found efficiency of mine lasted only a handful of days. Repeated mistakes and reflections on these mistakes taught me my lessons and I came up with 5 ways to ensure that I get the maximum out of my daily To-Do-List.

1. Prioritizing
A big roadblock in the way of getting more out of your To-Do-List is the failure to Prioritize tasks. Its good to write down your daily list of tasks but its equally important to prioritize these tasks in order of importance.
You may prioritize tasks through 'A' to 'D' - with 'A' being most important and 'D' being the least or unimportant task (or you could use numbers). Start by doing the 'A' tasks first, then get on to 'B', then 'C' and finally 'D'.

2. Referring to the List
A To-Do-List is prepared to get all your tasks together in one place so that you do not forgot or leave out any task. Its useless preparing a To-Do if you going to forget about it after making it. Refer to your list atleast two-three times in the day to cross out completed tasks and see which ones remain to be done.
It is also important to add to your list as more tasks come up during the day. Prioritize these new tasks as well else you may end up spending more time on relatively unimportant tasks and struggle with the important ones later.

3. Deadlining
A goal without a time frame is doomed to remain just a dream. Every task must have a time limit. Assign time limit to your tasks along with priorities when you are preparing your To-Do and try to adhere to them. While crossing out each task, also mention the time you took to complete the task so that you may realize which tasks took the bulk of your time. At the end of the day it will be easy for you to analyze your To-Do and see which tasks took more time than they ought to have.

4. Softwares
Lately, To-Do softwares have been in vogue. Many To-Do softwares are available free or at little cost which let you not just write down your tasks for the day but also tell you which tasks are overdue, or going to be overdue or which tasks have you been putting off for some time now. A great advantage of these softwares is that you can sync then with your phone or email account. You may lose your To-Do-List if made on pieces of paper, but you will not lose these softwares. These softwares are convenient to use as it very easy and hassle-free to rewrite, delete, carry forward etc. You may use softwares like Todoist, Ta-Da List, Remember the Milk.

5. Supplementing To-Do-List
This is a technique I use that further increases the productivity of my To-Dos. I use alarms and reminder notes in my cell phone to remind me of tasks to be done at a particular time. For eg, if a client has asked me to call him up at 4 pm, I not only write it down on my To-Do-List but also put a reminder alarm on my cell phone which  goes off at 4 pm and ensures that I do not forget to call even if I might be busy doing other work.

Good luck!

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