Making the Most of To-Do Lists

Published Wednesday, August 10, 2011 2:32 PM

Take a break from your summer beach reads to bone up on some reading to help make the most of an old classic: the to-do list.

Too many of us are guilty of writing up lists and then letting them languish. Say good-bye to the half-finished list and hello to the list that does more.

Intention Meets Action

In A Better Way to Manage Your To-Do List,consultant Peter Bregman suggests viewing the to-do list as a collection tool: one that assembles the list of things that we hope to get done.

Next, turn intention into action by syncing your list with your calendar and scheduling time for each item.

If your to-do list outnumbers available hours in the day, it's time to re-priortize your list. Important items need to float to the top; items that aren't crucial need to be re-slotted to another day. Asses your list carefully: want-to-do doesn't always equal need-to-do.

Bregman also suggests tackling some of the toughest, least palatable tasks at the beginning of the day; knocking those items off the list builds feel-good momentum.

One Size List Doesn't Fit All

Organization blog Unclutterer  always has useful tips on streamlining, be it your home, your hectic schedule and yes, your to-do list.

In How to Create a To-Do List That Helps You Get Tasks Accomplished, the Unclutterer rounds up advice from readers on best-practices for to-do lists.

Suggestions include: creating multiple lists such as daily and monthly lists to keep track of both immediate and long-term needs; organizing lists into categories such as money, kids, fun and must-do. Yet another reader advocates making lists with no more than six items.

One type of to-do list doesn't suit all styles so be sure to create lists that work for you.

How do you tackle your to-do list? Do you have tips for getting the list finished? Share your thoughts here and at the Pendaflex Facebook page.





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