6 Ways to Write a Better To-Do List and Get More Done - Deepstash
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Productivity Systems

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1. Note Why Each To-Do on Your List Is Important

"If you confront yourself each day with reminders of only the least enjoyable parts of your job, it’ll probably wind up sapping your motivation to come to work"

Consider adding a sentence to every task on your to-do list that explains the value of completing that task. If you can clearly define why a task needs to be done, you’ll feel more motivated to complete it.


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2. Delete Low/No-Value Tasks and Nice-To-Dos

One of the most common problems with to-do lists is that they’re overwhelming. When you’re constantly adding new to-dos to your list as they pop into your head, you often end up with dozens or hundreds of to-dos.

Deleting low-value, no-value, and nice-to-do tasks from your list helps you create a better to-do list because it makes your list more manageable, less stressful, and more skimmable. It keeps your most pressing and important tasks top-of-mind and helps you avoid getting distracted by tasks that won’t move the needle.


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3. Create a To-Do List for Each Week or Each Day

If you’ve deleted all of your no/low-value and nice-to-have tasks from your to-do list and still find it overwhelming, consider using one of the following prioritization techniques to create an individual to-do list for each week or day:

MITs – Zen to Done’s Leo Babauta recommends starting each day by picking between one and three tasks you’ll focus on that day. These are your most important tasks (MITs), and you shouldn’t work on anything else until those tasks are complete.


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Ivy Lee Method–At the end of every workday,choose six tasks to focus on tomorrow, order them in priority from 1-6,and then work on those tasks in priority order the next day until all six tasks are complete.

1-3-9–At the beginning of every workday,choose13tasks to focus on that day:one high-priority task,three medium-priority tasks andnine low-priority tasks. Complete the high-priority task first,followed by the medium-priority tasks,and finally the low-priority tasks.

When using these methods,it helps to have a to-do list tool that makes it easy to drag and drop your to-dos into different lanes


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4. Break Large To-Dos Down Into Smaller To-Dos

One of the quickest ways to get overwhelmed when looking at your to-do list is to have a list filled with monstrous tasks that will take weeks to complete.

  • conduct keyword research
  • conduct competitive research
  • audit and catalog existing content
  • review ideas backlog
  • solicit ideas from customer service and sales
  • ask customers for ideas
  • evaluate all ideas
  • create calendar

Instead of having lots of very large tasks on your lists, spend some time breaking those large tasks down into the smallest completable components.


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5. Write a “What I’ll Probably Do” List

"What do I actually think that I will do today?"Asking that question changes how you approach creating a to-do list for the day. Instead of planning based on what you hope to accomplish, you plan based on what you believe you actually will accomplish, which helps you create a better, more realistic plan.

If you find your reality rarely matches the plan you make ahead of time, try making your to-do list in answer to Forster’s question and see what difference it makes to your productivity.


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6. Draw Your To-Do List

So if you find you’re not getting enough done because you forget what you’ve planned for the day—or you’re wasting time looking at your to-do list over and over during the day try drawing it instead.

If drawing isn’t your strong suit, you can also try using a mind mapping tool.The visual nature of a mind map will help you create a picture in your mind of the things you need to get done,and you can also attach images to your mind map for even more visual cues to reference when you’re trying to remember what needs to be done.


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