March Motivation Series #1: How to get things done with a to-do list

Hello everyone, welcome to the first post of my March Motivation series! Today I will be sharing some tips with you on how to get things done with a to-do list :)

Everyone has multiple commitments to juggle at any stage of life. You could be an undergraduate and have multiple project meetings and deadlines to meet, or a professional in the corporate world with multiple internal and external meetings to attend on top of your daily work, or even a stay-home mom with your child(ren)’s after school sports, running errands and keeping the entire house in order. How do we ensure that we get the most out of our time?

Enter To-do lists.

However, to-do lists will just remain as “to-dos” if we don’t manage our time properly and actually get the tasks done. Knowing how to schedule is one of the key things in achieving good time management. I have created a simple guide below to help anyone who wishes to be more effective at scheduling.

March Motivation #1

Image: Pinterest


So where do we start?

As a first step, you should know how much time you take to complete your activities. Everyone does things differently so you cannot use someone else’s time taken for yourself. Next time you’re working on your tasks, make a note on how much time you spent to get each of them done. I like to schedule my tasks and activities every beginning of the week so I know what I need to get done and then plan my time accordingly. Surfing the net and stalking people on Instagram do not count!

Creating the list

In this technology driven 21st century, there are plenty of apps and programs available for use as lists and schedulers. Some of the popular apps include Remember the Milk, Evernote or Omnifocus. Any medium is fine as long as you’re comfortable with it and it allows you to view your schedule in the level of detail you want. I personally still use a diary with a week to view so that I can see my activities all at one glance. 

Step 1: Think about what you need to get done for the week and make a list of them

Make sure you include enough information so you know what you need to do when you come to it, instead of spending time thinking back on why that item was on the list in the first place.

Step 2: Think about how much time you require for each task on the list

Put a note next to each task the estimated time required to finish it. If it involves travelling from one place to another, you might want to include a reasonable buffer time for traffic.

Step 3: Prioritise your tasks

You could do this by assigning numbers next to your task, perhaps 1 being the most urgent and 4 as the least urgent. Then start scheduling in the tasks into the week, taking into account the days you might have less energy because of a long day at work or at school. I tend to schedule more tasks into the start of the week when I am unlikely to have social gatherings, and leave the least urgent and less time-consuming tasks for later in the week.

Step 4: Ticking off your completed tasks (optional)

This step is for people who enjoy striking out or ticking off completed tasks from their to-do lists. I feel that it does make you feel better when you see things getting completed and your list getting shorter. It is also a good way for you to track your progress: if you notice a whole heap of tasks undone, you may have been too ambitious and scheduled in too many tasks than the time you have available, or you simply might have been too distracted!

Do you use other ways to help yourself stick to your to-do list? Are there any creative ways you have heard of that people use to stick to their to-do lists? Feel free to share in the comment box below. I hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful :)