Home » Organizing your To-Do Lists

Many people who have tried listing their tasks often give up for one main reason – it becomes overwhelming. A to-do list is an awesome tool to organize your tasks, but without any kind of system, these helpful tools can quickly transform into hardly-usable headaches as tasks pile up without any tangible plan to manage them.

Whether you’re a fan of technology or keep it old-school on paper, creating an effective to-do means managing it in a way that keeps your life organized and enhances productivity.

Divide and Conquer

The largest cause of to-do chaos is managing tasks that must be completed in different time frames. When you focus only on daily checklists, then you may neglect more long-term projects, which can quickly become overwhelming. Therefore, the best way to manage to-do chaos is to create multiple to-dos for goals with different time frames.

Start by creating a master list of items that you want to accomplish within a month or so. This can include tasks that aren’t incredibly time-sensitive, such as cleaning out a closet or starting to plan a family birthday party in advance. You can also create a similar master list for planning a major project or event. From there, make a weekly to-do with tasks that you need to complete within the next week, such as buying fabric softener or booking a business trip.

The third is for tasks that you need to complete today. These are generally the most important and urgent tasks, but you should also include items from your weekly or monthly to-dos that you can reasonably accomplish (e.g. if you are out of milk and need to go to the store, then you can get other, less-urgent items while you’re there). Therefore, by organizing your checklists into these tiers, you can keep these tasks separate and straight while still tracking their progress.

Effective Organization Strategies

Here are some helpful tips to keep your to-dos clean and organized.

Technology is your Friend

With the advent of to-do and shared calendar apps, you should keep your main to-dos online even if you prefer to hand-write your daily tasks. Using these apps not only allows you to keep a backup record of all of your tasks, but it also enables you to more easily rearrange tasks while letting you take advantage of capabilities like sharing your schedule with colleagues.

…But be Careful of App Overload

When you’re trying to find the perfect to-do app, you may download multiple apps, which can result in you having different sets of tasks in multiple apps. While some apps are better for different types of goals or intervals, you should always sync it with a master app where you can holistically view what you need to accomplish. With shared calendars, for example, you should import all of your tasks onto one master document for yourself.

Short and Simple

Your to-dos should be short and simple. This means ensuring that your list doesn’t have too many items on it, breaking larger tasks into smaller chunks, and ensuring you write actionable and specific items. Simplifying your tasks will help you keep organized without feeling overwhelmed.

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