If your office is anything like ours, now is the time where everything goes one million miles per hour. Monthly goals become muddled up with weekly goals, daily tasks blur into one, it’s almost summer and no matter what industry you work in, preparation for Q4 has likely already begun.
At times like these, you need to step away from your tasks, take a deep breath and recalibrate. And that always seems easier said than done, especially when things get busy.
Do not worry though. We’ve got a strategy that’s going to change the way you work.
WHY YOU NEED A SMARTER TO-DO LIST
What do you currently write your to-do list in? A notebook? A piece of paper floating on your desk? Your phone? Well, stop. You need a smarter to-do list.
There’s one problem, humans are terrible at estimating how long a task will take. Which means, you can make a to-do list of one thousand tasks, or three tasks, and they might both take you the exact same time.
Only by doing an action repeatedly can you begin to estimate how long it’s going to take you. With that said, how the hell are you supposed to write a to-do list when you don’t know if you’re even going to get everything done?
That brings us on to step two…
WRITE DOWN YOUR WEEKLY TO-DOS FIRST
What are your objectives for the end of the week? There are obviously things you want to accomplish when Friday rolls around, right? So write those out first.
For this, you’ll need a weekly planner. Something like the Getting Stuff Done week pad, which can help you lay this out first, before you even begin to try and stab in the dark and estimate what you can complete in one day.
You’ll have a much better time of estimating where your time needs to go if you know what you need to accomplish by the end of the week first before you start managing your day-to-day tasks. For example, I had a huge deadline looming over me the past couple of weeks, and I wondered where I was going to get the time to attack it from. So, I sat down and wrote out everything I needed to do in the week and then estimated the priority of each task. Next, I opened up my notebook, wrote the day of the week at the top, and wrote down roughly what I needed to spend my time on.
Instead of having a huge to-do list for the day, I had max three items to complete. One of those was related to the huge deadline, and in fact, took up much of my day (and a bit of my weekend too) but at least I knew I was working towards it and getting it done, instead of madly trying to do all my daily to-dos first and fit my project deadline in around it.
COMBINE YOUR WEEKLY AND DAILY TO-DOS TOGETHER
Use the Weekly And Daily To-Dos Kit to combine your perfect week with your daily to-dos. We all love a good notebook, which is why we designed the Make It Happen notebook to be small and portable yet still beautiful, with ivory lined pages you can scribble in and make a plan for the day, you’ll feel much calmer once you’ve written it down. But if you really want to make the perfect to-do list, combine this with the Getting Stuff Done weekly desk pad. You can write down your objectives for each day of the week and use the notes and this week’s plan section to make sure you’re staying on track. Shop now.
LEARN THE R-D-D RULE
We’ve spoken about this before, but there is definitely one rule for every to-do list. This is the R-D-D rule. Rollover, Delegate, and Drop. When you’re busy, trying to achieve everything on your list can cause some serious stress. According to studies, most people leave 41% of their to-dos undone. It’s time to look at your list and be realistic. What should you roll over to tomorrow’s list that you’ll actually be able to achieve?
Some things will still need to get done on the day and can’t afford to be rolled over, which is where delegation comes into play. You can delegate some of your list if you’re in the position to. If there are lots of little things sucking up your time, use it wisely and delegate.
Finally, if you spend a lot of time rolling something over, and can’t seem to get it done, sometimes you just need to drop it. Make sure that you’re not dropping the biggest tasks on your to-do list. Those are the things you need to make sure are at the top, but when it comes to the little inessential items, sometimes you can forget about it. The key is in having the gut instinct to know what’s unnecessary before you even add it to your list.
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