7 Expert-Approved Ways to Write a Better To-Do List - Deepstash
7 Expert-Approved Ways to Write a Better To-Do List

7 Expert-Approved Ways to Write a Better To-Do List

Curated from: mentalfloss.com

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1. Time-Blocking

1. Time-Blocking

Time-blocking consists of assigning individual tasks to manageable time slots.

Instead of writing out short tasks alongside hours-long tasks on your list for the day and hoping you have enough time to tackle it all, this approach lets you set realistic goals for yourself one task at a time.

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2. If/then Lists

2. If/then Lists

To set reasonable goals make a list for high-energy days and another for when you are reluctant to work. Both lists should follow an “if/then” model.

The first lists should have the more involved tasks, while the second list should feature more mindless tasks like cleaning out your inbox, organizing your desk, or even napping.

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3. Eisenhower Matrix

3. Eisenhower Matrix

An Eisenhower Matrix breaks a to-do list into the four categories below:

  1. Has items that are both urgent and important, is to be tackled immediately.
  2. Items that are important but not urgent, can be scheduled for a later time.
  3. Tasks deemed urgent but not important can be delegated to others if possible
  4. Tasks that are neither urgent nor important should be crossed off the list altogether.

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4. Drawing

4. Drawing

It’s fine to use your own shorthand to write to-do lists as long as you can decipher it later. Consider doodling quick images to get your message across.

One study found that words are more likely to stick in our memories if we draw pictures of them instead of writing them down. Doing so also forces you to think them through ahead of time.

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5. One-Three-Five List

5. One-Three-Five List

A one-three-five list looks at task size, instead of time or urgency. Using it you can make more informed decisions when urgent tasks pop up and better prioritize your other work. To make one:

  • Fill the first slot with the biggest job of the day.
  • Pick three smaller, but still important tasks to fill out the middle of your list.
  • Finish it off with five items you can quickly take care of.

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6. Kanban Board

6. Kanban Board

A Kanban board helps you keep your day organized by visualizing the tasks ahead. To make one:

  • Start by finding a board, digital or otherwise. Keep in mind that the tasks will have to be moved within the board.
  • Fill with tasks the three columns—"To-Do, " "Doing, " and "Done".
  • Any items you complete should be relocated to the "Done" column, and any items you start from the "To-Do" section should move to "Doing. "
  • Place the board somewhere easy to glance at throughout the day, so you can easily visualize your progress.

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7. Could-Do List

7. Could-Do List

You can make a "could-do" list to weigh the importance of optional tasks. To do that:

  • Make a worksheet with columns for tasks, task duration, expenses, task desirability (scaled one to 10), and the return on your investment (scaled one to 10).
  • Based on those metrics, identify which items take priority.

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