Just got back from vacation last Wednesday and naturally was drowning upon entering the office. You know how it is. Nothing stops when you’re gone so it’s time to play catch up. To avoid becoming overwhelmed and feeling like I needed a vacation all over again, I had to master my To-Do list so it didn’t master me. Well, I made it to the end of the week relatively unscathed and with all tasks complete, including a major workshop presentation that I totally nailed.
Hear are some tricks I use to crush my to-do list EVERY. SINGLE.DAY. And how you can too!
Start your to-do list over every day: No need to burden yourself with what you didn’t accomplish yesterday. Chances are, priorities have changed anyway. Its okay to write it in again but chances are some things have lost its importance. Give yourself permission to START FRESH every day. Focusing on yesterday will delay the wins of today.
Decide on the top 3 things that absolutely have to get done: I like to think of this as the list that you absolutely have to complete or the world will end. Be practical about what you can achieve. An exhaustive list will drain you mentally and make it so that you don’t have the energy to get anything done efficiently. Some of it can wait. The others will be icing on the cake.
Break your tasks into smaller bite-size chunks: If you have to write a paper, break it up into: brainstorm a focus, research the topic, outline the paper, write the introduction, write the closing, draft the works-cited page, draft body (break this up into even smaller to-do’s using the outline), edit format, check for errors, send to ____ for review, number pages, add header, submit final draft to _______. See how one to-do just became 15+? Checking each small step off of your list will add excitement for completing the rest. One big to do sitting there will feel daunting and will probably lead you to procrastinate due to the overwhelming feeling it brings. Celebrate the small wins and keeping charging forward. Practice breaking tasks up on everything down to delivery of the final product.
Do not multi-task: Contrary to popular belief, our brains are not wired to multi-task. Focus all of your brain power on one thing and minimize the rest or you’ll risk minimizing your ability to get anything to the finish line.
Give yourself a time limit for every task: The race against the clock will release the endorphins needed for focus and momentum needed to get to completion in time. The alternative is taking 8 hours to do something that would have taken half of one.
Try these hacks and watch your productivity and happy meter dramatically increase!