“To Do” lists are simply documented outlines on all tasks that you want to perform at a specified time. It could be housework, office work or any task calling for its fulfillment. It is important that you make a “To Do” list a night before the following day so that you can know what you are actually up to when you wake up from bed. To do lists prevent you from forgetting tasks you should carry and guides you to manage yourself by prioritizing your daily schedules. How then do you make and become skillful at making good “To Do” lists? Follow these steps.
Simply write down all your tasks: Write down every task. Making “To Do” lists is a very simple thing to do once you can write, but being skillful at it is the reason why it must be learnt. Just write all the tasks that face you. The moment you receive an assignment, or think about an inquiry to make, look no further than on the paper and write it down. Writing tasks down does not mean you must necessarily perform them promptly, but it creates the platform for you to prioritize them carefully and carry them out wisely.
Break down large tasks into smaller tasks: It is everyone’s joy to see his/her tasks accomplished. But some tasks are too big and can never be accomplished in a day or two. However, something little can be done about each big task each moment. An example I want to give you is about a friend (architect) who took a week to accomplish the task of drawing a complex building plan. He spent each day thinking and drawing a particular segment of the house; kitchen, bathroom, bed room etc. He was able to do this even though he was extra busy with other tasks alongside.
Let your tasks be clear and concise: You can’t have a task like “Doing cleaning”. Where are you cleaning? The house? Which part of the house are you cleaning? You can make specific moves when you have the clarity about what to do and that will happen when you break down tasks into simpler formats. Make the items on your list simple to understand; e.g; Wash the dog, Draft the budget for shopping, Visit my friend Mawunyo, Travel to Akatsi in the evening, Read the book “To the Zenith”, Do my Mathematics homework etc.
Prioritize the tasks: To Do lists are tools for effective time management, but “prioritization” is what sharpens them for efficient work. To prioritize here means to differentiate the tasks with respect to their essence. Run through the tasks you listed and rate them in order of significance. To make this work, note the deadlines of some of the tasks on your list. Also, know the tasks that you have already begun in smaller steps that would demand a continuation. A task like “Visit my pastor at his office” will require the time your Pastor will be present at his office. A task like “Do my Mathematics homework” will also require the time your assignment should be submitted. Assess the urgency or the emergency of the tasks and know what to finish, what to begin, what to continue and what to procrastinate. Rate the tasks with the scale of 1 to 10. This becomes your scale of preference.
Rewrite your tasks in order of preference: One you have prioritized, you have to re-arrange your list by ordering the tasks so that you can have an effective, clear and uncompromised working tool. You will be able to know what is trivial and what is important, what is quick to be done and what is time-consuming by referring to the position of the item (task) on the list. The precise scale of preference will keep you away from being stranded and detracted. Keep the document a safe place so that it can be assessable when needed.
Your level of skillfulness will be determined by the contents of your “To Do” list, but your commitment will determine its usefulness. Be committed to your tasks. We all make To Do list every day, but it is unfortunate we keep them our minds and that is a place they can easily get disorganized. If you have not made any To Do list before, it is time to develop this skill from the scratch and become good at it sooner or later. If you have done it before, keep doing it, reach your goals and accomplish your dreams.
(Inspirational Writer || LifeSkills Entrepreneur)