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Curbing the Never Ending To-Do List

Whether you use the traditional pencil and paper, or take advantage of an online tool, to-do lists can get out of control quickly. While it feels great to put a line through your action items, to-do lists can be daunting especially when they roll over to the next page. The challenge is figuring out how to prioritize our lists, while including both long-term goals and day-to-day tasks, both of which are equally important. Consider using some of these best kept secrets for getting your work done without drowning in your lists.

Separate Your Lists Try separating your to-do items onto two lists. Make a list for items you don’t want to forget, tasks, and urgent action items. Use the second list for long-term goals and tasks that aren’t time-sensitive, but still important. To make sure each list gets adequate attention, try starting the day by completing the first task on each list. If you’re working on a long-term goal, it’s important to break it down into simple and achievable action items.

Break it Down If you have an item on your to-do list that doesn’t seem to ever get down, you might need to make it more achievable. If this task is more of a goal than an action item, think through the process and write down each step. Crossing off elements of a long-term goal one at a time will give you the endurance you need to accomplish it without feeling overwhelmed.

Prioritize Once you have made your lists, come up with a ranking system. Some people choose to use ABC, while others use numbers or shapes. Prioritize each item by urgency, and then get to work! You may want to rewrite your lists so you can keep moving down the page instead of jumping around from one item to the next.

Block Out Time Our days aren’t only for to-do lists. We have meetings, business lunches, and unexpected emergencies that fill up our free time (if we have any to begin with!). Use your calendar to block out a chunk of time to specifically work on your to-do list. Don’t be afraid to get detailed with your calendar. You might consider writing down the items from your to-do list directly on your calendar. As a bonus you’ll be able to cross it off of two places!

At Quadrivium Advisors, we know what it’s like to get overwhelmed with lists! Getting prioritized is much easier when you have someone guiding you through. If it’s time to streamline your to-do list, contact us here.

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