Manage Your To-Do List: 5 Steps To Get You Started
When starting a new business or releasing a new product, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the number of outstanding tasks. Productivity declines if you focus on the number of projects but never complete them. Successful entrepreneurs need to learn how to work efficiently. Here are some time management tips to check items off your to-do list.
Balance Your List
Writing down your to-do list is the first step to a more productive work day. Writing down your responsibilities helps your brain release them from your active memory. Unfortunately, most people are overwhelmed when they look at a long list of projects.
Instead, create a master list of tasks. At the end of each day, select no more than five items and add them to your list for the next day. If a more urgent situation arises, move unfinished items to the next day. Don’t let those items roll over more than three days.
Set Small Goals
Break down large projects into smaller tasks to ensure you know every step involved. Completing tasks boosts your feeling of productivity. For example, preparing for an out-of-town conference may include the following:
- Make hotel reservation
- Book airline
- Arrange transportation
- Ship sales literature
- Schedule meetings with clients
Do One Thing
Studies find the benefits of working on one task as opposed to multitasking. If you have a larger or time-sensitive project to be completed, set aside a specific amount of time to work on that project. Turn off notifications on your phone and computer. Close your office door.
Frequently, the best productivity booster is a 10-minute break. It may seem counter-intuitive to stop what you are working on, but breaks recharge your brain. Walking around or grabbing a coffee gives you a fresh outlook when you return to the project.
If the project is repetitive, overwhelming, or uninteresting, you may not be motivated to start it. Try modifying your to-do list. Move two or three tasks in front of the larger project. Make sure these tasks take no more than 30 minutes total to complete. Once you have those three checked off your list, move on to the larger project. You will have the success of the previous tasks to keep you motivated. Promise yourself a break when you complete the larger project.
Implementing a few of these ideas will help make your to-do list more manageable. Keep going, and you will be unstoppable.