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Ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day?  You’re not alone. In fact, 50% of Americans admit to feeling overwhelmed in their daily life.

But as they say life is only as hard as you make it, and the secret to increasing productivity and reducing stress in your day-to-day life is about making efficient lists.

The to-do list is inescapable.  It’s our attempt to create order in our chaotic lives.  The trick to creating and maintain a healthy work/life balance is by staying organized and on task with lists.

Below are the most common mistakes people make when creating list and the best approach to making lists that will elevate your productivity.

  1. You Mix Your Lists

Just like your drinks, it’s not good to mix your lists.  Keep separate list for different areas of your life.  If you need toilet paper and want to write a business plan – these two don’t belong on the same list.  A solution is to make a home to-do list, a work-to-do list and a bucket list that are all separate.  This way you aren’t overwhelmed nor will you waste time prioritizing your chaotic list of tasks.

  1. You Misplace Your Lists

As we get older, the mind well it becomes more distracted and we don’t always remember where we put things.  Create a dedicated place or spot to put all your to-do lists.  Maybe keep them all in a notepad, or sticky notes that you take on the go.  Maybe it’s time to go digital, try some apps like Evernote, Wunderlist or clear.

  1. Your Lists Have No End Date

Make a daily list where you prioritize what’s most important.  Determining what tasks need to be dealt with first.  Having smaller, more tangible list will make you feel less out of control and overwhelmed.  Crossing off daily tasks on your list, making small victories as you complete your to-Do’s boosts confidence and keeps you motivated.

  1. Your Lists Keep Containing the Same Items

Outsource the task or get rid of it.  You know what they say, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  Analyze your list and figure out which items can be given to someone else to free up your time for items that you can and want to do.  You know that item on your bucket list, something about bungee jumping… maybe it’s time to cross that off forever and move on.

  1. Thinking About Your Lists Makes You Cringe

Most likely your list is jumbled and disarranged.  You have tomatoes next to scheduled work meetings, coffee with friends, next to tasks to be done for a work presentation.  No wonder you feel agitated and anxious.  Organize your list one day at a time or even one hour at a time.  Try out different list techniques; see what fits your work identity.  By day, by project, by deadline are a few examples.  Try one system for at least five days before moving on to another.

This blog post gives you everything you need to know about the dos and don’ts of your to-do lists.  Remember lists are created to make your life easier, keep you motivated and accountable.  If you find that you are making any of the above mistakes try out our tips suggested and see if they make a difference.

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