Monday, June 25, 2012

The To-Do List: The Most Important Part Of Your Day

You've had a great weekend and now it's time to start your work week.  Ugh ... right?  If your weekend was awesome, the last thing you want to do.  As a matter of fact, even if your weekend was less than awesome, you still dread Monday coming because it's time to act like a grownup and get back to the real world.  But it doesn't have to be so bad, especially if you have a plan.

Let's get our coffee and get this day started!  If you do this every day, your days will start less harried and hassled, every work day, all the time.  Here are the basics:

  • Spend a total of 60 minutes every day going through your to-do list and your email, 30 minutes every morning, first thing, and 30 minutes at the end of the day.  
    • Spending 30 minutes twice a day will save you hours of looking for things, not knowing what needs to be done and eliminates feeling overwhelmed.  You're in control.
  • Make your To-Do list the focus of your day, instead of your telephone and email.  
    • We all have a tendency to focus on what's right in front of us and most of the time, it's email.  Change that to your To-Do list and fill in from there.
  • Keep your To-Do list simple to avoid being overwhelmed.  There's always more to do each day than there is time but not everything is urgent; remember - if everything is urgent, then nothing is urgent.
  • Only put the most important things on your To-Do list, the most noteworthy and separate them into 3 sections:
    • Must Do:  Those things that HAVE to get done today.
    • Should Do:  Items that you should get done today but the world will not end if they're not.
    • Can Do:  If everything else is done, these are things it would be nice to get done.
  • Include no more than 5 items in each section of your To-Do list, for a total of 15 items.  In the average day, this will allow you to add more urgent items that come up throughout the day.
  • At the end of the day, go through your To-Do list and cross off everything you've accomplished.  What a great way to end your day, crossing things off the list.  Great sense of accomplishment!  
  • When you're done reviewing your day's To-Dos, take that as the basis for tomorrow's To-Do list.
    • Move things from your Should Do list to the Must Do for tomorrow; eventually, they'll be fires if you don't move them up.  
    • Move your Can Do list to your Should Do and so on.
If you combine going through your email with making up your To Do list, then everything stays in balance and your days are less overwhelming.

Give it a shot - it really works!

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