How to Create a Productive To-Do List and Break Down Goals

It’s Monday morning, and you’ve written down all of the things you want to accomplish on a post-it note. Around 3pm, you realize you’ve only completed one task on your list. What happened? You had such high hopes for a productive day. Where did you go wrong? Despite your frustration, this overwhelming sense of defeat is experienced by many individuals. What has happened to you is quite common. But why? Let’s start from the beginning with the initial planning of your list. You may have jotted everything down on your list quickly to ensure you didn’t forget any tasks. Now here is where the problems can begin. By adding so many tasks, your to-do list has become unrealistically long. In addition to a long list, the time frame in which you have allotted yourself for task completion is also unrealistic. You may have added tasks that are near impossible to complete in one day. Although these situations happen to many people and feel frustrating, there are things that we can do to create a realistic to-do list. Here are some tips to consider when creating a productive to-do list and breaking down goals to get there:


1. Have Balance on your list. Compile a list of goal related important tasks and less important tasks. Prioritize your goals. Decide which tasks relate directly to your goals and which tasks need to be done first to accomplish those goals.


2. Break down your goals and your list into a timeline. Breaking down your goals will help to prioritize your to-do list. Estimate by what date you need a task completed to meet your goal.


3. Be flexible. Consider that you might plan a task and then not be able to complete it. Do your best to adapt and have a plan B. Try to incorporate alternatives for certain tasks on your list.


4. Include transition times into your list. Transitioning from one task to the next takes time. Include time in your list to close out one task and move on to the next.


5. Don’t plan too many tasks for one day. Putting an exact number on how many tasks are realistic for one day is challenging. The number of tasks is affected by the time it takes to complete each one. When planning your list, really think about how much time each task will take. This will also help you to prioritize your tasks to reach your goals. Don’t include too many tasks that require a significant amount of time.


6. Eliminate unnecessary tasks. Evaluate your commitments and decide if you need each one. This will help determine what tasks need to be included on your to-do list.


Overall, creating a realistic to-do list is achievable! Putting in time and effort towards creating your to-do list and following these tips can help you get the most out of your day. Do your best to stay organized, flexible, and realistic!


References

(n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-to-create-a-to-do-list-that-makes-you-smile.html

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