5 failsafe ways to discover – and stick to – your personal To Do list system

How do you manage your to do list?

Do you have a system?

If you don’t, don’t stress.

It’s not embarrassing to not yet have a system in place.

I used to get so stuck between whether I wanted to write things into a nice paper diary or whether I wanted to hold things electronically, that I sometimes ended up with a mixture of both!

This never really worked out. Quite honestly, it’s best to have one place to refer to. No room for confusion, no dilly dallying, no looking or searching – just knowing exactly where to look.

Here’s what I’d recommend you do in order to get yourself established into a To Do regime, if you don’t yet have one.

This is 100% applicable to both your business and your personal life.

1. Ease
What’s easiest for you? Easiest is best as you’ll be more likely to stick to it!

Is it easier for you to carry a paper diary, or notepad? Or would you prefer type things up in Evernote, or an online to do list app like Google Tasks? Maybe even have the best of both worlds, and write, via stylus, into an app such as Goodnotes on your iPad.

Experiment and see how it feels. No one said that whatever you choose today needs to be your choice forever! Just give it a go and see what you like.

2. Regularity
Review and update your to do list daily. Without fail. Get all that ‘stuff’ out of your head. I add my to dos to Google Tasks and have an entire automation set up around it. I have processes copying the task to a master To Do list Google Sheet so that I can keep my list perpetually whilst my ‘on the go’ Google Tasks app keeps me able to be up to date at all times.

Voila. My master list and my ‘on the go’ all in one.

3. Prioritise
For every item on the list, prioritise it. For me, ‘A’ means today, ‘B’ means tomorrow, ‘C’ means this week, ‘D’ means longer term.

4. Eliminate overwhelm
Sometimes my list seems a mile long. This can be really overwhelming and instigate thoughts about how I’ll ever get it all done!

In those instances, I add another column to my list – ‘duration‘. It really helps to list down how long I estimate each task will take.

For example, some days I might have 15 things to do, and they’re all priority A. This could have a tendency to throw me into a bit of a tailspin.

When I take duration into account, though, maybe they only add up to being 2 hours worth of effort.

Seeing the list in that light (i.e. as 2 hours worth of ‘stuff’, not as 15 separate, potentially overwhelming items) can decrease stress as compared to just seeing a never ending list.

5. Stick to it
Keep doing this. All that mental clutter of items in your head will slowly but surely disappear, as you get it all down on paper. Don’t accept yourself scrawling up things on the back of your hand, or on a scrunched up post it note or the back of a Woolworths receipt! One place, one list means no lost paper or ink washed off your hands! If a paper diary doesn’t work, try electronic. If that doesn’t work, try a to do list app. Just keep trying things until you find something you like.

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Until next time

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I help busy people get organised. In a NON-BORING way.
I do this by sharing all the tips, tricks, templates, processes, spreadsheets and checklists I've pulled together since I was old enough to hold a pen and paper.
They say I can organise the heck out of everything and the best part is that I LOVE doing it and I LOVE sharing it!