I have written before about how I like to write out a daily to do list the night before (see here and here). I typically like to do this sometime in the evening. I think it really helps to clear your mind ready for relaxation and bedtime. It also helps to beat any overwhelm or anxiety. I find the days that I neglect to do this things are much more scattered and there are often important things that get missed and I definitely think that I am less productive with more time wasted. See my daily to do list tips below:
Cover your bases: Make sure you are picking tasks in different areas of your life so that you are staying balanced. i.e besides just your work tasks and anything you need to remember you might like to also add whatever habits you happen to working on i.e. exercise, household tasks, things for your kids, things to buy etc.
Use a paper diary: I use an 81A size diary. It has a page for each day which works out to be the perfect size for me. I like having the days to look back on just in case and if anything pops up during the day that I know definitely needs to get done the next day I can directly write it in and forget about it knowing that it is there for tomorrow. Also at the end of the day when I am writing my to do list for the next day I can then just write in for tomorrow anything that I missed getting done today.
Don’t write too much: You need to be really realistic about the amount of things you can get done when you write your list. If you write too many tasks you can overwhelm yourself. I have a computer next action system (based off the book ‘Getting things done’ by David Allen) set up on Trello which is really great at determining what I need to get done next to move all of my projects forward. (You can read about my system here)
Here are some extra daily to do tips that I don’t always do but they are extra motivation when you need it:
Batch tasks: Once you have your list you can then batch them by category i.e. @ computer, @ home, @ work, @ errands. I just put a little ‘c’ in a circle for computer and so on but you could just have your diary or notepad sectioned if you like. Then you can batch tasks for extra effectiveness during your day. i.e if you have an @ calls then you can make them all at the same time. I like to batch all of my computer tasks as I find the computer can be quite distracting at times and then I make sure not to do anything else online until all my tasks are completed. I also got this idea from ‘Getting things done’ it is a fantastic book!
Pioritise: If you have a day when you are really struggling to get into your to do list then you can put a number by each task in the order that you plan to get it done. I generally start with several really easy tasks to get my motivation up then you can easily build momentum to carry on with some harder tasks.
How do you like to remember your daily tasks? Do you have a paper or a computer system – or do you use a combination of both like me?
(Photo: Julia Caesar)