Does your to-do list feel like it only gets longer as the week goes on? Here are 3 quick tips to help you better organize your to-do list so you can finally start crossing things off and, hopefully, end your week with clear accomplishment.
Step 1: Brain Sweep
Get everything out of your brain and onto a piece of paper or a digital document so you can begin to sort through it. Don’t leave anything out – personal tasks should get written down as well.
The problem with not writing down everything you think you have to do is that you’ll inevitably either forget about it, or get distracted by it when you’re working on something else. So go ahead and spend 15 minutes listing out every single thing you think you need to do.
Keep this somewhere easily accessible so you can quickly add to it when something else pops up.
Step 2: Break it Down
Now that we’ve got it into a format we can sort through, it’s time to identify the priority of each task. Before you prioritize it, ask yourself:
Is this something I can delegate? Maybe there’s someone on your team that could take this task off your plate. Remember: done is better than perfect, and it’s okay to trust someone else to help – especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
1. Is this something I can automate? It may seem like it will take longer to automate a task than to actually do the task, which may be true, but remember that once it’s automated you won’t have to do it again, or, at the very least, it will greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to complete. Check out Zapier if you’re looking for a simple way to begin automating your workflow.
2. Is this something I should outsource? Is there someone better suited than you to complete this task? Consider outsourcing the things that either aren’t in your wheelhouse or aren’t worth your time.
3. Finally, can I eliminate this? Is it really a task you need to complete, or just something you think you need to complete? Is it going to directly affect your bottom line or move you forward in any capacity? Did you say yes to something when you should have said no? Don’t add things to your list just for the sake of adding things to your list – really evaluate if what you’re spending time on is worth your time. Time is finite – don’t waste it on meaningless tasks.
Once you’ve gone through each task with this lens of questioning, it’s time to prioritize. The Eisenhower method is a great way to determine the level of priority and urgency required to complete.
Step 3: Make Time
Making time to actually work through the tasks on your to-do list is probably the most overlooked, yet most important, step to actually completing your list. Go ahead and block time off on your calendar to work on your tasks. You’ll be surprised how much you can cross off during focused work. It’s important to treat that blocked off time just like you would any other important meeting or event on your calendar, though – meaning you don’t cancel and you don’t reschedule unless absolutely necessary.
Bonus tip: If you’re using Pav*r, be sure to Categorize and Label your blocked off time so you can run effective reports to see exactly how and where you’re spending your time. You might find that many of your tasks are taking you either more or less time than what you had anticipated and you’ll be prepared to make data-backed decisions based on what you learn.