Research shows that people who make a to do list get more done. Fortunately there’s no right or wrong way to make a list. But just in case you’re curious about how other people do it, here are a few different ways I’ve tried:
- Make a list of everything that needs done and just start chipping away at it.
- Limit your list to a specific number of items. Some people recommend no more than 3 items. Some say 10. Limiting the number of items forces you to think about what items are the most important. You might want to make this list in pencil so when you think of something more important, you can erase!
- Divide your list into three categories: ~Absolutely Must Do Today ~Should Do Today ~Could Do Today. Then start working on the “Absolutely Must Do Today” category and work your way down.
- Make a list of 5 things you want or need to do right now. Mark each one off as you complete it. When you finish those 5 things, make a list of 5 more. If you finish those, make another list of 5. This is a very effective method if you are struggling to get motivated.
- Use a timer. Instead of making a detailed list, make a list of categories – like cleaning, paperwork, computer, cooking, etc. Set the timer and work on that category until the timer goes off. If you need more time you can set the timer again and continue. If you’ve had enough, move on to the next thing.
- Make a schedule. Decide what needs to be done that day – either categories or specifics – and write out when you’re going to do each category or specific item.
Whichever method you chose, or perhaps another method entirely, it’s always good to have a plan. Even if you can’t follow your plan perfectly, and you usually can’t, most people accomplish more with a plan than without a plan. So even if you’re not a planner, give one of these methods a try. If you already plan, maybe it’s time to try something new.
But whatever you do, MAKE A PLAN!