Are you looking for a simple way to increase efficiency at work and in everyday life? Then look no further!
The to-do list is a well-known tool nowadays. It seems to simple – and yet, it’s one of the most effective tool for maximizing efficiency, productivity, and reducing stress.
And the best part about to-do lists? They take minutes to make, they’re accessible to anyone and they’re completely free!
So let’s discuss how exactly to-do lists can boost you efficiency.
Writing down tasks relieves stress
One major source of inefficiency and procrastination is the stress about having too much to do. You don’t know where to start, you’re scared of forgetting something important. It can all just feel too overwhelming and lead to a sort of paralysis that won’t get you anywhere.
My tip: just start by writing down everything you have to do. With this simple step, you’re already one step closer to an efficient lifestyle!
Once you get everything out of your brain and onto the paper (or your phone), you’ll be able to tackle your to-do list without being constantly scared of forgetting a task.
To-do lists increase visibility
Not only does a to-do list alleviate stress, but it does so much more. Having a list of tasks allows you to see at once what needs to be accomplished. The upside? You can actually plan your day to maximise efficiency, instead of running left and right without a real plan.
Once your to-do list for the day is complete, you’ll be able to see which tasks are important, urgent, or can be done sometime else if you run out of time. You’ll also notice that some tasks are best done together, like running 2 errands in the same area, or completing 2 tasks that require a similar state of mind.
And if you end up running out of time, you’ll be able to see that in advance and be able to adjust for the remainder of the day.
To-do lists help you prioritise
While I have written a separate article about prioritising (which is key for efficient time management), to-do lists are a great way to do so. By dividing you tasks into important, urgent and all the rest, you’ll able to decide what needs to be tackled first.
Ideally, you’ll complete the urgent tasks quickly and then focus the most of your time on important items, as these are the ones that truly count and help you progress in life.
The remaining tasks, such as doing laundry (unless you have nothing left to wear and it’s urgent), can wait for another day if need be.
To-do lists ensure that you meet your deadlines
If you have a list of all your tasks, it’s very easy to add a deadline right next to them. You can even colour-code your to-do list if you like! Think red tasks for today, blue tasks by the end of the week, green for long-term projects. This is a great way to efficiently manage your time and get everything done before the deadline.
You could also create multiple lists for each day of the week, which is my personal favourite. Just remember that you’ll probably have to adjust them as you go.
Prioritising your tasks according to deadlines gives you great visibility. You will no longer suddenly remember things at the last minute, but be able to plan and adjust your schedule for maximum efficiency.
Focusing on one task at a time increases efficiency
If you don’t write a to-do list, half of your brain will be stressing about everything you haven’t started yet. However, a comprehensive to-do list will allow you to focus solely on your current task.
Concentrating entirely on the task you’re working on will increase focus, prevent errors, and make you work a lot faster overall. Talk about increasing efficiency!
Ensure efficiency by tackling big projects one step at a time
One mistake I see so many people make is getting caught up in all the little tasks and never making time to work on bigger projects. While I totally understand that there is nothing more daunting than looking at a big project and not knowing where to start, ignoring it certainly isn’t the way to go.
When you write your to-do list for the day or week, always remember to include some tasks related to bigger projects. Do this even if the deadline seems far away! Because the truth is, it will approach faster than you think. In the end, you might not have time to complete everything, become stressed and be forced to work late.
The secret is to divide your project into little pieces. You can keep the list of small tasks aside and add them to your current to-do lists as you go. This will ensure that you’re constantly working toward your goals.
To-do lists should contain every single task
Especially when you’re working from home, your daily to-do lists should include tasks like feeding your cat, calling your grandma or doing yoga.
Although these aren’t technically work-related, having a comprehensive list will make sure that nothing gets forgotten. In addition, doing these non-work-related tasks in between work projects acts as little breaks for you brain. Thus, you’ll be able to focus better and be even more efficient.
Short to-do lists for optimal efficiency
Whe have established that to-do lists are a great tool to increase efficiency in work and life. They also help you be productive when you’re not feeling motivated. But it won’t work if you give yourself 65 things to do in a day!
Instead, opt for a very short list of 4 or 5 tasks – you can take these out of a more extensive list that you already have – and if you accomplish these, you can still add more later on.
As you can probably tell, to-do lists are very simple yet incredibly effective tools to get things done. And while I just gave you plenty of reasons to believe in their practicality, I also wanted to give you two tips on how to enjoy them more:
Make your to-do list pretty
While making a pretty to-do list might seem stupid at first, it does make a lot of sense. You will be looking at it all day long and chances are that a pretty list is going to motivate you much more than an ugly one would.
If you don’t feel like creating your own pretty to-do lists, you can download mine for free by subscribing to my emails!
Keep your to-do list clean and on one page
Having a clean and easy-to-read to-do list is very important. You don’t want to waste time figuring out your writing or what you meant when you wrote down that task!
I also have seen people have a 5-page to-do list to work with every day. In my opinion, it’s impossible to not get overwhelmed or miss something when you have 5 pages in front of you. Instead, keep your to-do list very clear and to the point for maximum efficiency.
I always make sure that my tasks for the day (or even multiple days) fit on one A5 page. If your writing is bigger than mine, you might take an A4 page, but you only get to use one side! Everything on your to-do list needs to be visible at once, easy to read and understand.
Whenever my to-do lists start to get messy or mostly consist of completed tasks, I rewrite them. It might seem excessive, but I assure you that it really works.
If you liked this post, be sure to share it with your friends!
A don’t forget to download my free printable to-do lists by subscribing to my email. 🙂