by Stella Moon
(Denver, Colorado, USA)
1. Find the right method of keeping your to-do lists: some people like putting tasks down by hand on tear-off papers, daily planners or A4 lists while others use Excel spreadsheets, Outlook bars or special software tools that can create tasks, track their performance, play sound notifications and perform other useful functions.
2. Prioritize tasks: put your tasks in order of importance/urgency and give higher priority to the tasks that get you closer to your goals.
3. Be realistic: check if you can really accomplish the task you are getting into. Be also sure that the task is actual for the planned period of time.
4. Be specific: each item on your list should be an understandable, short and measurable task.
5. Break down complex tasks into smaller manageable pieces and focus on one at a time.
6. Group and categorize similar tasks: for example create several to-do lists by categories – purchases, meetings, events, etc.
7. Delegate your work: if there are other people available who can help you with your work, ask them to help you.
8. Be flexible and not too much detailed: remember that the tasks may sometimes be interrupted or delayed, so allow some variations or reserves for them.
9. Leave spaces for unexpected activities: you may not know exactly what you’ll need to do, but if you plan the time to do it, then other important things will not get pushed out of the way when the demand arises.
10. Make to-do lists a daily record: at the end of the work day, take the time to review the day’s accomplishments, cross them off of your list and plan your work for the next day.
Many time management experts advice to introduce a system based on a carrot-and-stick principle: think of a reward you’ll get in case of accomplishment and sort of punishment if a task will not be completed by the end of planned period.
It is also a good idea to evaluate regularly how you are spending your time. In some cases, the best thing you can do is to stop doing an activity that is no longer serving you so you can spend the time doing something more valuable.