Sometimes just thinking about your to-do list can be daunting. It can be downright terrifying depending on how long it is and how big the items on your list are. There are always things to be done and new task additions that sometimes you might ask yourself how you will make it through! Fret not, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s how to efficiently track to-do items and ensure they get crossed off the list. Here’s how you can do the same and celebrate both the small and big wins of completing your list!
Make the List
Don’t just rely on keeping all your to-do items in your brain. Here’s the thing, I know you’re smart, and you can probably do a decent job at remembering what needs to get done, but there’s just no way that someone can remember every single task that needs to be wrapped up. Maybe you remember the big items, but small things can slip through the cracks. Combat this by actually writing out your to-do list. It can be handwritten or digital, but tracking what needs to get done will help you complete your tasks.
Okay, now that you have your list, it’s time to prioritize. Organize your tasks based on your priorities. Which due date is coming up first? What’s the low-hanging fruit you can cross off quickly? Does anything need to be reviewed by a teammate? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you work efficiently through your list and determine what you need to work on first.
You’ve probably even organized your list with due dates in mind, which is excellent! When working on an item with a specific due date, I even give myself an internal due date. If I know something is due December 20, I give myself until December 15 to complete it to ensure I’m not rushing to meet a deadline and giving myself time to do my best work. This also leaves room for any internal reviews and editing.
Now that you’ve figured out your priorities and have all your deadline ducks in a row, it’s time to make a list for your list. What does that mean? There are likely moving pieces and elements to each of your tasks, so creating a list of what to accomplish for each item can also be helpful when moving through your list.
Swap Multitasking for Monotasking
Over the years, it was ingrained in my brain that multitasking would help me complete my to-do list and conquer the day. If you could do several tasks at one time, you could get ahead and stay ahead. On the contrary, this didn’t actually help. Trying to complete multiple tasks at one time tended to suck my focus, resulting in it taking longer to complete each task. Monotasking has allowed me to put all my focus into one job, increasing my productivity and reducing distractions. I’m not saying that multitasking doesn’t ever work, but monotasking might be the trick to help you accomplish more on your to-do list.
It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do or die by your list. It’s not the end all be all; completing it does not determine your success. If a hot potato comes flying onto your list, it’s okay to shimmy things around and reprioritize. You prioritized your list and narrowed down your due dates for a reason. You don’t have to conquer your whole to-do list in one day.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
There’s nothing R&R likes better than a little celebration! Whether it’s popping the confetti or having a dance party, we believe celebrating your accomplishments is as essential as the task itself. Crossing an item off your to-do list, big or small, is a win. At the end of the day or week, you’ll be able to see all you completed, and it will even help you prepare your list for the next week.
Tackling your to-do list isn’t about getting it all done. While crossing off each item does bring me immense joy, it’s less about rushing to finish it all and more about organizing my priorities and producing the best work I can for my clients, team and even myself. So, next time you’re thinking about how on earth you will manage your list and the ideas floating around in your head, remember to write it all down. Prioritize, find some flexibility and most importantly, celebrate your to-do list wins!