When it comes to productivity, there has been no tool more enduring than the humble to-do list. But these days, we find that our lists are growing faster and faster, and it can feel like we’re clearing them slower and slower. And, if you’re anything like us, you may find that the to-do list ends up closer to a “not-done” list by the end of the day. When it comes to achieving business goals, like a profit increase, a to-do list is a vital building block to eventual success.
If you’re finding your to-do list continues to grow rather than shrinking, take note of these tips to help you get organised.
Grouping your tasksLet’s jump right in. A great first step is organising a hierarchy for your to-do list – from high priority tasks through the less urgent. The first step is identifying your Must-Do tasks, e.g. meetings and appointments, as well as other urgent work. Taking these prioritised tasks – for example, reports for meetings, or other urgent work – and including a deadline on your list can help you action the work. Presumably, everything else falls into the Other category. This may include things like coffee catch-ups, organising or cleaning your desk, or research tasks.
Organising a hierarchy for your tasks and giving them deadlines gives you a great idea of how to best utilise your time.
Another great tip is to consider grouping similar tasks so you can complete them efficiently. Studies have consistently demonstrated a drastic reduction in efficiency when you attempt to multi-task. So, despite our gut instinct to switch tasks and work on several things at once, it actually slows us right down. Too much task switching between can cause you to lose focus and valuable time.
How should you prioritise tasks?So, what do you need to be asking yourself when it comes to ordering your tasks according to priority?
1. How important is it?
2. How long is it likely to take to complete?
3. What are the consequences of not completing it now?
4. Is there any special tools or information I need before I can complete this task?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can decide which jobs to tackle first and prioritise your tasks effectively.