10 Tips for Mastering Your To-Do List

Jun 9, 2010

Have you ever had something really important on your to-do list but had a hard time getting to it because you were too busy doing other important things? If you don’t end up completing it all, something can slip through the cracks and become a bigger problem down the road.

What we’re really talking about here is multi-tasking. Whether you’re running a small business or a large company, in today’s world multi-tasking isn’t something that just happens at crunch time; it’s an everyday reality.

We are being pulled in more directions than ever before. For most of us, the frustrating part is that our to-do list is always growing and we’re consistently being pulled away from it.

Chances are that as time goes on, we’re going to find ourselves taking on more and more, so it’s a good idea to build the skill sets that will help us harness those demands.

Here are 10 tips that can help you organize your tasks and get the job done. When we see progress at the end of the day, that stress can melt away.

1. Create a task list for the week that lists the most-important items you need to handle, the second-most-important items and the least-important items that you can put off.

2. When planning your schedule, determine which tasks you must take care of personally and which you can delegate.

3. Set specific times each day for tackling specific tasks.

4. Focus on each task for a set period of time.

5. Set reminders on your computer or cell phone that will help you remember when to take care of specific tasks and projects.

6. Use visual aids to organize your time on a monthly and weekly basis, such as calendars, note cards and Post-its in visible places.

7. Limit the actual amount of real multi-tasking that you must do. Only multi-task on the most-important tasks.

8. Break projects and tasks down into manageable chunks. Don’t attempt to complete a project in a single day if you know you can’t.

9. Make a plan before beginning new projects. If you don’t do this, you may find yourself back-tracking and fixing mistakes.

10. Schedule the most-involved tasks for the times of the day when you know you’re most-productive. Simple tasks, like returning e-mails, should be done at times when you don’t require as much focus.