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Best tips on creating better and more effective to-do lists

One of the most common productivity techniques around is the age-old and effective to-do list and for good reason. Creating to-do lists is one of the most efficient ways for you to get anything done. 

Whether it’s a mental list or something that you’ve scribbled on a notepad, a to-do list is an important tool that you should be including in your work routine.

But, building an effective to-do list is not as easy as it seems; that’s why we’ve come up with a list of the best strategies to create better and more effective to-do lists. 

Assign due dates

Planner with daily schedule

Image credit: Unsplash

Adding a due date helps you to better prioritise your tasks.

You should note that not every task requires a hard and fast due date, but it’s still a good idea to assign a time frame to such tasks anyway.

This is important because setting deadlines can help you to plan out your week effectively, which is a great time-management strategy.

Remove low or no-value tasks

Person writing on their to do list

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One of the most common problems with creating to-do lists is that they can get overwhelming, especially if you’re constantly updating them with new tasks.

Removing low or no-value tasks helps to make your list much more manageable. Otherwise, you may find yourself stressing out over the growing list of tasks you need to complete.

Break down major tasks into smaller points

Person checking items off to-do list

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There’s nothing more intimidating than a to-do list filled with major tasks that can take weeks to complete. That’s why we highly recommend breaking down major tasks into doable, bite-sized items.

To illustrate this, let’s say that one of your tasks is to set up a new website; a mammoth task that can be broken down into smaller to-dos like the following:

  • Purchasing of the website domain
  • Setting up the hosting
  • Migrating the website
  • Designing the web pages
  • Writing the web copy

That’s a couple of week’s worth of work merged into a single to-do item!

Instead of listing only monstrous tasks inside your planner, try breaking large tasks down into smaller, more manageable parts; this makes it easier for you to plan your schedule.

Plus, checking items off your to-do list brings about a feeling of satisfaction that can motivate you to keep working your way through the list.

Make your to-do list public

Weekly planner

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Sometimes, the best way to stay on track is to have someone hold you accountable.

Making your to-do list public allows everyone else to see it, forcing you to specify and define your tasks more clearly which makes it much easier for you to work on them later.

Review your to-do list regularly

Planner and a cup of coffee

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Familiarise yourself with your to-do list by reviewing it regularly.

The more you review and look at your list, the more you trust it. And the more you trust it, the less you’ll need to remember the tasks on hand which free up your mind to focus on what you need to complete.

Tackle the most important tasks first

Person planning to do list

Image credit: Unsplash

You may feel compelled to start on easier tasks first before moving on to larger and more important tasks. However, the problem with this is that even the simplest tasks can drain your energy.

Additionally, if you have a major task to complete, chances are that you’ll be thinking about it over the course of the day. This means that you’re spending unnecessary energy dwelling on it, all of which wouldn’t have been an issue if you just dealt with the big, intimidating task the first thing in the morning.

Feature image from Unsplash

About Author /

As an avid home baker, Madeleine can often be found in the kitchen working her magic. When she's not hands-deep in some form of dough, you can also find her bingeing on The Office - her favourite TV series.

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