The 4 secrets for an effective To-Do List

December 9, 2019
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More than an accessory to organize your work, the To-Do list has become a real activity management tool. Easy to implement, it meets everyone’s needs while combining simplicity and efficiency. But it is also necessary to know how to use it well in order to reap all the benefits.

Discover our 4 secrets to set up a really effective To-Do and finally stop the endless and messy task lists.

Before you start writing your To-Do List…

1) Choose the right support

This may seem ridiculous, but choosing the right material will have an impact on the effectiveness of your To-Do! Especially if there are actions in your task list that are not directly addressed to you or if you have common projects with your collaborators…

To be clear:

  • Paper support: blank sheet, notebook, notepad, adhesive notes…

Ideal for integrating schematics or drawings into your To-Do and noting everything that comes to mind quickly. The paper can be used as a first draft before establishing a real To-Do in its own right. However, taking notes on paper can quickly become unmanageable for task tracking and information security.

After all, how can you manage your To-Do by date, by project and by person simply from a blank sheet of paper? The more complex your organization is, the more multiple To-Do paper you will accumulate, which is counterproductive. 

paper to-do

In addition, for fans of the beautiful online To-Do list, you will be able to use ready-made, designer and customizable To-Do list templates with Canva. You create your online To-Do list from different templates, to which you can add your logo, images, text, etc.

to do list online with canva
stylus connected ipad
  • Digitized support: computer, tablet, smartphone… 

For those who are keen on writing but want to have digitalized information that is easy to share. Different possibilities:

  • The pen connected on digital paper with Livescribe applications
  • The stylus connected to iPad with for example Apple Pencil

You can also take notes to manage your To-Do directly on your mobile wherever you are, or on your computer to work with multiple screens, more convenient when you have several things to manage at the same time.

In relation to the digitized support, you have several ways to take your To Do list according to your case:

1) You only need to manage a small To-Do list that doesn’t require follow-up? The simple handwritten task list is enough

2) You have to manage individual Tasks? Use digital sticky notes such as Post-it® to organize your ideas and share them easily with your employees

3) You want to organize your Task management according to contexts? Use digitized lists as with the Microsoft To-Do application, for example: @Home; @My day; @Assigned tasks; @Important; etc

4) Last option: you want to go further in collaborative work? Choose a collaborative Task Management solution: Trello, Beesy

Several Task management applications and tools exist to help you establish your To-Do list but also to follow your tasks with your team! Very useful when you have tasks to delegate or follow up with one of your collaborators. The same goes for common projects, see quickly where you stand to adjust your deadlines and achieve your objectives. The synchronization of your data is done in real time so that you are always able to exchange on the latest versions of your work with your team.

To write a to-do list well…

2) Structure your tasks

Structuring and classifying tasks is one of the keys to success for a truly (and finally) effective To-Do. Here are all our best practices to implement to structure your tasks management:

  • Depending on the time of day and the type of task

Do you tend to be more effective when you wake up? So do the most “difficult” tasks first! Would you prefer to work on important projects after a good lunch? Manage them in the early afternoon.

As recommended by the Getting Things Done (GTD) method, classify and organize your work by domain, e. g. home, work, transport, emergency, project… Performing certain types of tasks according to the time of day will allow you to create a real common thread in line with your desires, your motivation and your availability.

getting things done method
  • By setting priorities

“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” As Dwight D. Eisenhower, who gave birth to the Eisenhower matrix, said so well, it is important to define your priorities by separating urgent and important tasks.

eisenhower matrix

Beyond the simple To-Do, this matrix will help you to divide your tasks management into 4 categories:

  • Urgent and important tasks: Priority number one!
  • Important but non-urgent tasks: To be planned to prevent them from becoming urgent
  • Urgent but not important tasks: It’s time to delegate!
  • Non-urgent and non-important tasks: Give yourself the right to procrastinate… or even to remove these tasks to lighten your To-Do

3) Apply Method 1-3-5

You are overwhelmed and your To-Do list only looks like a succession of tasks, each more important and urgent than the next? Method 1-3-5 will help you get out of this hell. Perform at least 9 tasks per day in 3 categories:

  • 1 difficult task to be completed without delay, for example: completing the commercial presentation for a large customer
  • 3 important tasks but less heavy in terms of workload and therefore faster to complete, for example: setting up a meeting with your employees, etc.
  • 5 quick or pleasant tasks to accomplish to lighten your To-Do and motivate yourself for the rest of the day, for example: sorting your emails, etc.

Finally, adopting this method means becoming aware that you are able to do much more in a day than you thought: you clear your mind and every week you can go up to 45 tasks completed!

4) Update your To-Do list regularly

The key to saving time is to take a few minutes every day or once a week to update your to do list. It is important that it be updated regularly to readjust deadlines as necessary.

Moreover, seeing how it progresses on projects and actions to be carried out throughout the day or week is incredibly satisfying and psychologically motivating. So don’t hesitate to check the tasks you have managed to complete to create a Done list!

If you want to learn more about how to organize your day click here.

Now you know all our secrets to develop a truly effective To-Do! If you also have secrets to share, feel free to share them with us in the comments or in or if you liked this article, share it on social networks!

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