If you have been struggling to get as much done this year as you’d hoped, you might need to make a simple change that will make a big difference. Writing better to do lists and approaching your to do list in a different way can make a huge difference.
If you feel like your to do list is in charge of your life, it’s time to take charge. Here are a few strategies for better to do lists that have helped me increase my productivity lately, and I hope will help you, too!
1. Keep a master to do list.
You should always, always, always have a master to do list.
My personal favorite is Todoist. I’ve talked about it around a thousand times, I’m sure. But this is the easiest way to keep a master list of tasks. I keep my Todoist in tip-top shape and make sure to add projects, personal tasks and more to it, and I link it with Zapier so I can easily add calendar events and starred emails to my to do list, too.
But working off of your master list is hard and not always ideal. It’s important to have, but it shouldn’t be your only to do list.
2. Write out your daily to dos separate from your master list.
You may choose to use a tool like Todoist or Trello to do this, or you might write your to dos down on paper. (I write my daily todos down in a notebook I love.)
What’s most important, though, is that you go into your day knowing what that day’s priorities are.
For the longest time, I tried to work off of my Todoist, knowing that there was no way I could achieve 30+ tasks in a day but not taking the time to schedule my tasks more reasonably.
Instead, I follow the 1-3-5 strategy (more on that in a second!) to keep my daily list more manageable, and use my master list to remind me about future tasks.
3. Follow the 1-3-5 strategy.
I didn’t know this strategy had a name, honestly, until recently. But the 1-3-5 strategy is really useful for narrowing down the tasks you’re going to focus on each day.
First, start with one high priority task. This should be the task you most need to complete that day. (On Todoist, these are tasks that are ranked P1.) Then, choose three tasks that are also important but come from the middle of your list – lower priority or time investment, but still important to complete.
Then, round it out with five tasks that will be quick and easy to complete.