Today, it has become a generally accepted phenomenon that one of the signs of success is when a person has a lot to do and constantly does not have time. It is one thing when a person calmly and leisurely, having reached a certain level of skill, quickly, efficiently, and qualitatively performs their work. And it is completely different when a person is always in a hurry, constantly nervous, and under pressure. Work, home, work, and total lack of time. Haste leads to a constant state of stress in the body, health, and mental disorders. However, anyone can change this state of affairs when they try to create a checklist for that or another purpose.
Organization is an important quality that allows you to control your life. In this article, you will learn how to make a list of work and household tasks for a day or a week, what needs to be done for this, and how to plan your daily affairs in order to conduct them more efficiently and live fully. Accustoming yourself to making a checklist can be difficult. Be prepared that your mind will resist and try to evade tasks in every possible way. However, if you make a to-do list correctly, it will not only not scare you but will also encourage you to work more actively and productively.
A to-do list is one of the effective tools for planning and organizing time. We create to-do lists, grocery lists, hobbies checklists, and lists of attractions we want to visit while on vacation. This simple habit increases our daily productivity and allows us to feel less overwhelmed. So how do you make a checklist and follow it?
1. Conduct research
In sociology, such a concept as the “field stage” is used. It implies a comprehensive broad study of a subject or phenomenon in real conditions in order to collect data for further analysis. To apply this approach in making a to-do list, first of all, you need:
- to track the time spent on one or another activity;
- to observe yourself for a while and estimate what time of the day is the most productive for you;
- to set priorities for your tasks;
- to try not to do everything at once, one step at a time;
- before planning your day, find out how much time it takes on average, for example, business correspondence, meetings, preparation for seminars, in short, everything you usually do
This will allow you to make a whole list of things that you will have time to do on your typical day.
In other words, estimating the time you spent on various activities will help you plan them in the future as you already know what you will manage to finish during the day. We do not recommend just including the tasks on your list without prior evaluation of the time needed to accomplish them. There are various tools that can help you track the time you spend on diverse tasks.
2. Plan in advance
There is no single opinion here – some say that it is better to create a checklist in the morning, with a fresh head, while others say that it is better to do it in the evening. Everyone decides for themself when to start making it, taking into account employment and many personal factors. But it will definitely contribute to efficiency.
3. Write specific items
If you need to go to the grocery store after work, immediately attach a shopping list to the “Go to the store” item in the diary. In this case, you will not waste time walking through all the departments in order to remember what you came for. It is also important to include only what you actually do in your to-do list. If your future plans are to start writing blog articles, do decorative painting, or learn how to make Fabergé eggs from beads – write it down in a separate list.
4. Plan not only work affairs but also personal ones
To do this, you need to follow a daily routine. Appropriate adjustments must be made during vacations, weekends, and holidays. If you are exhausted at work, you do not need to fill out the checklist for the evening, and it is better to give you free time for rest. Outside work, try to set real tasks and fulfill them without fail. The item “buy milk on the way home” should be implemented, despite the fact that it is insignificant, and you do not want to stand in line at the supermarket. Otherwise, do not add it to the list.
5. Rank tasks by the degree of importance
Psychologists recommend starting the day by doing a few easy tasks that you have planned. It can be, for example, charging. The essence of the reception is that after completing a few points and crossing them off in your checklist / ticking “done” in a special program on the computer, you will see that sticking to the plan is not so difficult, and you will be encouraged.
6. Divide tasks into doable steps
Important tasks must be solved in several stages. For this, you can use the method of “eating a steak”. According to this technique, the whole problem is a steak. Dealing with a large steak alone is difficult, as well as swallowing a steak in one go. To solve it, we divide it into several parts, and every day we solve a particular aspect.
7. Update checklists regularly
No matter the checklist, it will never remain the same, meaning it is constantly evolving. On your way to ticking some tasks, others become irrelevant, or the list may lack some other points. So, always make sure to update all the information on your checklists.
8. Track your progress
According to statistics, 95% of companies that keep records of their progress and follow checklists have almost three times higher success and ROI rates than those that don’t do that. The same rule applies to personal checklists and tracking your own progress. Stay focused and motivated!
Familiarity with the basic methods of time management will also help. So, in the books of Brian Tracy and David Allen, a lot of useful information is collected with a detailed description of techniques for solving tasks, making effective checklists, and much more.
How to stick to a checklist?
The list of things should be in front of your eyes. In this case, you will definitely not forget anything. It is better to write down essential tasks in red. The sensitivity of the human brain to bright colors is higher, so such tasks will stand out and attract attention better.
Do not put more than seven items on your list. You simply won’t have enough time to do everything, and you’ll start to worry that you don’t have time to do everything and get frustrated with your ability to keep a checklist.
Many people lack proper time management skills, especially those in creative professions and those who suffer from inattention and can be distracted from their main occupation. For them, it is recommended to duplicate the checklist and place it in several places.
Even if previous attempts to keep a checklist have not been successful, try to keep it for at least a few days. This will avoid unnecessary stress and not forget anything. In addition, you will see that it is not difficult to make a list of things. The main thing is to write down your things systematically and use the above recommendations.
A skeptical question often arises: “Why to plan a routine and thereby make it even more boring?”. But it is not so. According to one of the gurus of time management, the creator of the popular Getting Things Done method David Allen, if you write down your current tasks on paper, your brain will be freed for more creative tasks.
Some people claim that by following a checklist, a person increases their efficiency and productivity. Also, if you don’t do something planned, it will serve as a reproach and motivate you to act in the future. Create checklists in your lives and get more insight from everything you do.