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Productivity / Time management tips

The ‘To do’ list that works even better

I’ve made some refinements to The ‘To Do’ list that worked, and now it’s even less intimidating, more workable and more fun! Want to know what I’ve changed?

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1. The list is now colour coded, pretty-like

I like coloured documents. They’re nice to look at. And I’m willing to sacrifice some printer ink if it’s going to help me work through my To Do List (which, as you may remember, I actually call ‘What’s the Gig?’).

I’ve got three colours that symbolise the following:

  • Very important (blue)
  • Sort of important (orange)
  • Not vitally important but good to remember and try to do (pink)

Some people might go for the traffic light idea: red for Important, orange for the Sort of section and Not vital as green, but to be honest, making Very important items red freaked me out too much.

2. Bulleted lists have turned into tick box lists

It may sound naff but I like ticking off stuff that I’ve done. Maybe you’re not a ticker. Maybe you prefer to put a line right through that baby. That’s okay. Consider then turning your bullets into small pictures or symbols that make you chuckle or smirk. Hey, it’s your list! I’m not going to judge you!

"For a good week’s work I’ve already set a small personal reward for myself, such as a cuppa at the locaI café, or two hours in the hammock with tequila."

Want more articles like this? Check out the time management tips section.

3. Transfer the ‘to do’ items to a daily list

My ‘What’s the gig?’ list was designed for the whole week. By having the weekly list, I’ve found working out my daily list much easier.

I jot down one to three key things to focus on for that day. And I try to create that mini-list at the end of the day so that I wake up knowing already what I need to focus on.

Confession: Sometimes the daily list doesn’t get written til the morning. I try not to beat myself up about that.

4. An external judge

Another confession: sometimes I get over-excited about all the things I want to achieve. But an over-ambitious list just sets you up for stress and disappointment. So, when needed, I now have someone else close to me look over my ‘to do list’ to judge whether I’m insane.

5. Monitor and reward

Not getting those boxes ticked like you thought? I make notes on my list as to why it didn’t pan out as expected. If they’re good reasons, great. If it’s more about procrastination, then at least I’m staring reality in the face.

For a good week’s work (which does not necessarily equate to the number of ticked boxes) I’ve already set a small personal reward for myself, such as a cuppa at the locaI café, or two hours in the hammock with tequila. And I have my reward typed (in green) at the end of my list as a motivator. I even have a tick box for the reward to make sure I take it!

How’s your own ‘to do’ list coming along? And how do you motivate yourself to stick to it? We’ll be reading your ideas from the hammock!

Megan Hills

is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys helping others be engaging and understood. Through her marketing, publicity and graphic design nous, she can maximise the power of what you want to communicate to the people you want to reach.

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