First, why use a to-do list? Isn’t it just more work? David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, gives several real-life scenarios of how a to-do list can make you more efficient and will lower stress.
But, is it just a to-do list that helps? What about creating a not-to-do list as well?
The not-to-do list can help you organize those projects/chores you want to get done but just are not a priority at the moment. You don’t want to forget them, but you do want to accomplish them eventually.
Let’s begin with the to-do list:
- Write down all the things you want to accomplish
- Prioritize your list from urgent to what can wait (can waits go on your not-to-do list)
- As you complete each task, strike it out. As the list shortens, you will feel accomplished
- If you have large projects, you can organize the list with the project as a whole, or you can break down the project into daily steps, so you chip away at it step-by-step
- If you would like a worksheet to get you started, read here
The not-to-do list:
- These tasks are still a priority, but they do not need to be accomplished right away
- Prioritize these tasks as well, but they come from the least important tasks on your original list
Other subcategories you can add:
- In a survey titled What Success Means to Americans, being happy in your career is partly dependent on three things: loving what you do, building relationships, and achieving personal goals
- So, add a subcategory to your to-do list that has steps to accomplish each of these three goals
- Or, organize your to-do list under the three categories – and, your not-to-do list can be written through the lens of these three goals as well
Tools to help:
- Try Google Keep, which allows you to keep multiple lists and notes and to share across devices and with other people
- Try Wunderlist, which not allows lists and sharing, but it can set reminders and deadlines
- Try Todoist, which does much the same as the others, but it’s simple design is a benefit
- Try do if you’re someone who prefers voice entry over tapping
- Try Remember the Milk if you will have a lot of subtasks
- Try Clear if you want to easily separate work and personal tasks
- Try Habitica if you lack motivation, as it puts your task managing into gaming mode!