How to maintain a to-do list for managing priorities

The biggest lie we always tell to our-self is that I need not have to write; I will remember it. However, we know we cannot so we need a to-do List.

In my earlier article on utilizing time effectively by Priority Management, I have briefed various methods of managing your priorities. Now I am taking one topic in details i.e. how to maintain a to-do list.

Always maintain a to-do list and keep that in front of you.

How to maintain a to-do list
Key elements which we need to keep in mind while maintaining a to-do list

The biggest lie we always tell to our-self is that I need not have to write; I will remember it.

So if we accept the simple truth that, it is not easy to remember each and everything. Then there comes the role of To-Do List.

I find that if I write my tasks down, I’m far less stressed because I know I won’t forget anything. Moreover, when I’m done with one task, I can move right onto the next without reorganizing the list in my brain.

So now let’s discuss how to create a good to-do list and benefits of it:

  • Keep the To-Do List Simple: – A to-do list should be simple and precise. So that you can get what you are supposed to do instantly after reading the item; rather than getting confused.
  • Periodicity: – Periodicity of your to-do list depends on your roles and responsibilities. One should maintain a daily to-do list and maximum for a week, again this depends on your roles and responsibilities. You should prepare your to-do list for the next day before you leave for the day. So that you already know what you are supposed to do first thing when you reach office.
  • Order of to-do list: – To-do list should be maintained in the order of priority. The most important task should be on the top of the list. So that your focus will be on the important task.
  • Include related Information: – you should include related information in the to-do list itself. e.g. your task includes calling someone, then includes that person’s phone number on the list, so you won’t waste time searching for it later.

    Timeline and structure of a to-do list:

  • Timeline: – Once you created your to-do list for the next day, please make sure to add a timeline to it. Mention against each item at what time of the day you will complete this. One important thing you should always have some buffer time in between. So if something pops up for which you have not planned, can be completed.
  • Structure of your to-do list: – Your to-do list should not include more than 2 big tasks which will consume almost 60 % of your energy and time. A good to-do list should consist of
    — not more than 2 big tasks and
    — 3 to 4 medium task (30 % of your time and energy should go here) and
    — 4 to 5 small or tiny task with remaining time.
  • Tool for to-do list:- One can use a simple calendar diary to make their to-do list, which is the old and best way to maintain a to-do list. If you want to digitize your to-do list one can use One Note of MS Office. Or if you are looking for the simplest tool then nothing is better than Sticky note, (Window’s built-in) which is nothing but a digital post – its.

    Review of a to-do list:

  • Reviewing to-do list: – Whichever tool you use, the to-do list should be readily accessible to you. You should refer to your to-do list 4 to 5 times in a day depending upon the number of items on the to-do list.
  • Completed items: – One should tick mark the completed item or write done to mark the completed items, instead of deleting the same, when you use a digital tool. Benefits of the same will be you will get confident and motivated to complete more. and at the end of the day, you know which all task you have completed.
  • Time to make a to-do list: – Now you have agreed to make a to-do list on daily basis, please keep a fifteen minutes time before you leave your office to make a to-do list for next day.

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Manish Malu

Author: Manish Malu

By profession I am a Chartered Accountant, working in MNC. Book Reading is my passion, I normally read Books related to Self-development, Motivation, Leadership, Spirituality etc and reads blogs and watch Videos on these topics. The sprit to share the learned knowledge, brought me here so that I can write blogs and inspire myself and others with my work.

10 thoughts on “How to maintain a to-do list for managing priorities”

  1. How would you feel about hosting a post in which you have your subscribers sending photographs of their daily To Do list so you can see how they are progressing? Mine is practically illegible but I do have a habit of writing down a list of daily tasks on a notepad. And then I do the next day’s list of tasks and edit as I go.

  2. Great advice!!! I don’t know how I would get anything done without a to do list!! It’s something I’ve always done and IS very effective.

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