"People often underestimate what they can do in life and overestimate how much they can do in a day".
Do you have those days when you feel that you have so much things to do but not enough time?
Those days when your mind is reminding you time and again about all the stuff that needs to get done and you just can't keep up with the speed of time?
I feel this way right now.
It's been a month since university started. Classes from 9-5 six days a week, weekly assignments, projects, seminars, presentations and monthly exams. This is overwhelming and wait...I have just stated the academics part. Life has so much more than this.
So I decided to manage my time effectively and start writing a to-do list.
It backfired for like two weeks.
Do you write a to-do list anyhow, whether in the old school paper and a pen way or the modern application-on-my-phone way? If you ever had the experience writing it, you know how much it overwhelms you. It does feel good penning it all down on the paper out of your mind but when you see a long never ending list of tasks to complete in a single day, it stresses you out. You would feel that there are constantly more items adding to the list than the items striking out. This my dear friend, is not really working according to human psychology.
What did I do?
After a lot of trial and error, reading from various websites and recollecting from what I learned in various self-help books and knowing my strengths, weakness and the way I work, I came up with the following tips to write the perfect "to-do" list that would work and make me more productive.
1. Make separate lists:
As I told you,looking at the never ending lists of tasks to accomplish overwhelms you instantly and lowers your self-confidence. I overcame this by making different lists for university,personal life, blogging etc and categorizing helped me grouped various items together hence also it prevented the tasks from mixing it all up.
2. Be realistic:
You read the quotation in the very first line? I read it somewhere and I couldn't agree more. We overestimate what we could do in 24 hours. We add more tasks that we can handle, estimate the time wrongly it would take and so on. We need to stop lying to ourselves and be realistic so that we could have a smarter plan and a strategy to make it work.
Some tasks are more important than others. Some are more urgent than others. Some are dependent on other tasks. It is very important to prioritize the tasks so we know what to do first and which can go to the other day as well without any further problems. As said by Brian Tracy, "Eat the ugliest frog first so that you don't have anything to stress further".
Although I won't say that I could still complete my entire to-do list but using these three techniques it definitely has improved my productivity to a larger extend and if you still have to reschedule the task to the next day, it is okay. Time and practice would change that as well.
Do you write a "to-do" list? What stories do you have to tell?