Is your To Do List not getting things done for you? Are you struggling to create a To Do List that works? Many of my clients are frustrated that they have created To Do Lists over and over and over again and none work. The To Do Lists don’t help them get stuff done.
Not all To Do Lists are created equal. Some work better than others. Let’s get yours working for you. Here are 3 steps for creating a To Do List that works:
1. Write only 3 Items on your To Do List
While you may feel that you have dozens and dozens of items to accomplish for the time you are planning, the reality is the most people only get one or two items done. I recommend putting only three items on your list: the top three priority items that will accomplish your goals for the day. Everything else can sit on a parking lot list. This way your To Do List becomes a focussed task list not a random wish list.
2. “Verb Up” your To Do List
Start each of the three items on the To Do List with an action verb. An action verb is a clear direction to your brain; something needs to be done. Action is needed. Even the exact action is clear. Many people make the mistake of writing their list with nouns. Your brain sees the noun and knows something needs to be done. But what? Your brain has to work harder to remember what desired “to do” actually is. Giving your brain a clear action verb makes it crystal clear what needs to be done. You and your brain can both focus the task.
For example, rather than writing “Cake”, write “bake Cathy’s birthday cake”. If you plan to ice the cake as well, “Ice Cathy’s birthday cake” would be a separate item.
3. Work on Item 1 Until it is Finished
The top priority must continue to be the top priority until it is finished. Keep working on the top priority item on your list until it is actually completed. Then, and only then, move onto the second item. This is a key ingredient to making sure your To Do’s get done and your To Do List works. If the item is too big to finish in the time allotted, break it into smaller task and schedule the tasks for when there is time.
Using these three steps will strengthen your To Do List’s ability to work for you. And hey, you want it working hard for you right? Things get done; your To Do List is working for you.