When the nights get longer and the days get shorter, it can quickly affect our productivity and motivation. We've all struggled with procrastination at one time or another. If you are currently feeling the same way, a properly managed to-do list can help. Whether it's writing applications, completing assignments at work, or in your personal life - we'll explain how to create a list that will help you work more purposefully.
All good things come in threes
Especially if you have many tasks to manage, it is worthwhile to create three different lists at once. Each list serves its own purpose:
- Master list: The master list is the first to-do list you should make. Here you can write down all the tasks that need to be done. For the time being, it doesn't matter when the work has to be done, how important it currently is, and the type of task doesn't matter either. This list serves to clear your head by writing down everything that must not be forgotten. The advantage here is that you do not have to constantly think about doing these tasks. But the master list has one disadvantage: it is not clear enough.
- Weekly list: If you can't think of anything else to do for the master list, you can go to the weekly list. Here you write down all the tasks on the master list that you have to complete this week. Now you already have an overview of all the tasks of the week. Depending on how big your list has become, it can seem overwhelming. We can counteract this with a daily list.
- Day list: The shortest of the three lists is the daily list. Here you write down all the tasks you want to accomplish today. It is advantageous if you consider exactly which task has which priority before creating it. Then transfer the daily tasks to your to-do list in descending order of priority.
Through these three lists, no task is lost. In addition, you have an exact overview
of all tasks and also the orders for today.
Types of to-do lists
Depending on how structured you want your to-do list to look, you have different types of lists that can help you. The simplest method is bullet points on a piece of paper or a post-it note. For the master list, this is a suitable type because it serves as a great overview and a quick way to note down new tasks.
A simple to-do list can additionally be extended by a deadline. This can simplify the later assignment to the weekly and daily list. The priority of the individual tasks can also be noted. In the extended to-do list, there is also room for the estimated time required. This way you can make sure that you do not write down too many tasks in the daily list. It is also wise to allow for buffer times. Especially when you create a to-do list for your job, buffer times are a useful thing.
Last but not least, we have the complex to-do list. This is also intended for project managers. In addition to the task itself, the deadline and the time required, the resources needed and the people performing the task are also noted here. These types of to-do lists are practical helpers that can be adapted to your personal needs at any time. Experimentation is the name of the game here. You can either write all lists directly by hand in the classic way, create an Excel list or use an app for this purpose.
To make starting your first to-do list easier, we have the following tips for you:
- Make a daily list the night before so you know what's coming up right away the next morning.
- Tasks that take less than five minutes to complete should be done right away and not written down on the list. This will prevent your list from becoming too long.
- Break too large tasks into subtasks to avoid too high hurdles.
- Use different colors to organize task types and create an overview.
- You may revise to-do lists if you have taken on too much.
- Place your list in a visible place so that it is not forgotten.
- Cross out completed tasks. This increases the motivation to continue.
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