Guide to create and manage your To-Do lists effectively
Every startup and entrepreneurs struggle with time and task management. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to take care of every task associated with your projects effectively.
There are a lot of tools invented to solve this problem and helps you improve productivity and effectively manage your time and tasks. Of these tools, a to do list tool is the most basic but the most efficient one. But in order to be effective, you need to know how to use this tool.
How to write a To-do list:
Create a Master List of tasks
Whenever your come up with an idea or a task that needs to be completed, write it down. Categorize the ideas/tasks based on the type of project it belongs to. Create a centralized directory where all these ideas and tasks are available so you can remember them anytime.
Prioritise and write down these tasks
Look at the tasks available in your centralized library and prioritize these tasks based on their importance and the time scales to get these tasks done.
To determine the priority tasks for the day, I ask yourself the following questions:
- What task(s) will have the most impact on my day?
- What task(s) needs to get done today?
- What task(s) will make me feel the most accomplished?
Getting those important and time-sensitive tasks completed first will help you plan and complete your other smaller tasks later easily when you are running low on energy.
Breakdown these tasks into small components
Instead of having a broad task plan, split it down into individual components which can be completed without complexity. These individual components are usually in the form of “to-do lists”. Be very specific on what needs to be done.
Splitting down these tasks will help you get effectively work done. Even if these tasks look small, over the week, the accumulated completed tasks will compound in effect.
Be intentional with your uncompleted tasks
Try to understand why a specific task is pending in your list. Is it because the task is too broad? Is it because the task is not a priority? If its not important, you can remove it from your to-do list or assign the task to someone else.
Plan your to-do lists
Scheduling time to plan out your to-do list is the most important thing you can do to increase your productivity. Figure out how long your need to complete specific task and what help you would require in completing it. Without a proper plan, you will keep postponing the task and it’ll forever stay in your to-do list.
How to accomplish your to-do lists effectively:
Choose a method that works for you
A lot of people are old fashioned and use papers to write down their to-do list. Some people use their smartphones to record the to-do lists. In project management, managers usually use a to-do list tool or a software which simplifies the work for them and helps them to plan and assign tasks and manage time effectively.
Choose the tool you’re using to record and manage your to-do lists as per your requirements.
Prioritize your tasks
List your projects/tasks in order of urgency, complexity and importance. That will help you to manage your time more efficiently, manage tasks better and consistently meet deadlines.
Plan your tasks better
As i mentioned earlier, key to a successful to-do list is planning. Make sure you plan your tasks beforehand and understand how much time you would need to finish that task and what are the help you’d need in completing the objective. Be very specific with your tasks and plan them in a elaborate manner.
Don’t pack your calendar
Make sure your calendar is not packed with tasks that you’ll be doing the whole week. Leaving gaps in your schedule gives you flexibility and complete tasks which takes a little more effort than what you thought it would take.
If you think you won’t be able to finish the task, get help. This will help you finish your task and move on the next one in your to-do list rather than having it the queue for weeks.
Check items off
Once your finish an item in your to-do list, check it off. This will help you to feel a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to finish other pending items in your list.
Types of to-do lists
- Grocery List apps for simple task lists
- Getting Things Done (GTD) apps for detailed task lists, project, and more
- Kanban Board apps to visualize task workflows
- Plain Text apps to manage tasks free-form
Popular to-do list tools that you can use
if you decide to go for technology to manage your to-do lists, here are some popular tools/softwares from which you can choose one.