Thursday, 18 September 2014

How I changed the way I write my "to-do" list



"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.

3. Prioritize: 
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?

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69 comments:

  1. I write to do lists all the time, and they keep on back firing. So i stopped :) Thanks for the post.

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  2. When I'm cleaning I love writing to do lists so I can scratch off the items I've completed. I make other lists as well but I don't worry about getting them all completed every day. Breaking down the list is a great idea and not being hard on yourself is very good Sakshi ♡

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    1. It surely is. This has helped me so much.

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  3. An overall good post, many of my friends do need this kind of advice desperately.

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  4. I think it's time to redo my list too. :)

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  5. This is such a wonderful post, really useful!
    Thank you for sharing these tips with us, I will bring it with me throughout my entire life!!
    June
    The Journeys' of my beating heart

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  6. The idea for breaking down the list is great. I do this with all the stuff that needs to get done in the house, as far as repairs and decorating is concerned (which is loads!). I make a list for each room figure out if things need to be done before other things and either highlight or write them in that order. Then I stick it to the door of that room. The 'master list' is really daunting, but the little individual lists don't seem quite so scary! #weekendbloghop

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    1. This is an amazing idea. I loved how you dealt with the situation and managed to complete the task :)

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  7. I had to laugh at this as I too am a bit list maker! I am usually making the next and taking things from the first, which is just sad, LOL

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  8. Yes, I do get that feeling very often that there are too many tasks to be done and too little time. Making a list and prioritising definitely helps! Good post, I enjoyed reading it!

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  9. I live by 'to do lists' they keep me organised and sane! And also makes you feel better at the end of the day when you can see what you have achieved!
    Thank you for linking up with the #WeekendBlogHop
    Laura x x x

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  10. I agree whole heartedly if only we take the time to think about what we must complete now, today and tomorrow, we would have so much more free time. Not much of a list maker myself but I do try to work efficiently therefore completing several tasks in one hit. I find that way I not only keep focused but actually every now and again I can relax knowing that I am ahead of my game i.e.: I write articles based on jobs I am about to complete, these articles are a form of learning plan further enforcing my knowledge and teaching me new techniques, these articles are then scheduled for publishing later in the week and always make an interesting read once I have completed that task. Great post

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    1. I'm amazed at your efficiency to work out on tasks. This is something marvelous and I appreciate your time management skills :)

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  11. I do the "eat the frog" method too! Once I've done that, it doesn't matter what I accomplish the rest of the day because I have accomplished something huge and give myself permission to not complete the neverending list of To-Do's if I don't have time

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    1. Exactly. That is why it helps so much :)

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  12. This is brilliant and will help me a lot for the next few weeks, thanks for sharing!

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  13. Yes, I definitely feel overwhelmed by my teaching, acting, blogging jobs all together... What I do is to make lists and targets by weekly basis which having a monthly (google) calendar to give me a rough overview of my monthly schedule...

    Hope this helps too!

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  14. I'm terrible about writing to-do lists. I like the idea of having different lists for different things though - makes it easier to keep your brain organised. At a time-management course for work, I was told that you should only have 3-5 things on your list each day... seems like a sensible idea, but I'd need a separate list to keep track of all the other things then! #WeekendBlogHop

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    1. Yes. Having 3-5 things per day keeps you away from being overwhelmed. Hence, you stay upbeat and positive and less stressed.

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  15. I agree with you about these three tips and there's more to it to consider according to my system. Stick to your determination and motivation to completely evaluate your priorities. Yes, you have the guides but your personal passion doesn't goes with what you want to do. Always balance, one from the other. In addition, when worst comes to worst, always generate "desirable fall back" to put forward of wanting to be on time. Some people use their time management system according to their needs, not for wants.

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    1. Surely. These points can be added as well. Thank you for taking the time out and sharing some great insights. I really appreciate it :)

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  16. I agree with your post. I like the concept of categorizing your to do list. Seeing the to do list fully loaded makes you weak and fulfill few task instead of doing it all. This is really helpful to be properly organize such busy work,school and etc; schedules.

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    1. I hope it works for you as well. Good luck! :)

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  17. Eat the ugliest frog first so that you don't have anything to stress further. I do opposite of that lol.

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  18. I agree with all the things you pointed out because I often tend to make the same mistakes-forget to give a priority to the most important and urgent stuff to do, and also forget to have realistic assessment of my abilities and expectations.

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    1. It happens to most of us. The important thing is to rectify your mistakes.

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  19. I do a very general plan of what I want to accomplish. And then I go with the flow. Too much planning sometimes makes it impossible to see the possibilities opening in life.

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    1. You have a very interesting point there.

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  20. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by what I have to do for the day. It's really important to prioritize and do one task at a time.

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  21. Thanks for these tips. Prioritize is very important for making the to-do-list works.

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  22. I have a to-do list, but I stop doing so at one point. Thanks for the tips and it works as a reminder for me to start working on my to-do list again.

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    1. I hope you start writing them back. This is a huge boost for the productivity.

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  23. That's a really interesting method of approaching to dos. Actually I follow one of the things you mentioned. I prioritize events very strictly and then allot time frames to each of it. That way it's often simpler.

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    1. As long as you're getting the results you want, whatever rocks your boat :)

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  24. I love that quote at the beginning of your post - so true! I write 'to do' lists all the time. Unfortunately, most of the time I end up losing the lists :)

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  25. I like doing lists to be organized. Especially during travels! Do the most difficult and most challenging first. - Fred

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  26. Love this post!!! I like doing lists tooo

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  27. i really like those ideas! my to do list always increases :/

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    1. I hope that by following the above steps, you achieve whatever you want and increase your productivity :)

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  28. I to have always been a big list maker. Then I make lists from the lists and then I can't sleep at night. Getting better though. Thanks.

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    1. You cannot sleep at night because you're stressed and you over-think of what all you have to do. Write it down and free your mind. The next day, focus on only one task at a time and you'll see the change.

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  29. thats an interesting post...to follow what is being said...I never thought of having a to do list for personal things..though I little follow for my professional tasks....
    Let me try doing this so that I could have some LEISURE time which is good for my HEALTH I believe...:) thanks for a good post Sakshi...

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  30. Uhhh, I understand how you are feeling!

    Thanks for linking up today!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  31. I solved the problem by never ever writing a list of household jobs - if they get done, it's a great big added bonus! Just popping over from the weekend blog hop!

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  32. I loved your post... The two keys to a To do list is be realistic and stay flexible. We can make changes and stuff happens too.

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  33. Bottomline: since writing is a way of life (in general), we have to make adjustments, especially if one strategy like this 'to-do' list went naught. I admire the "realistic" note though.

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Capture some sunshine *winks*

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