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Simple Step Beats To-Do List for Managing Time and Tasks

Create a Daily Priority ListIf you manage your time and tasks with a to-do list, do you struggle with any of these “symptoms?”

  • Do you feel overwhelmed because your to-do list is so long?
  • Do you get frustrated because after a long hard day when you look at your list, its not much shorter than it was at the beginning of the day?
  • Do you feel like you never get enough time for the really important things because you spend most of your time reacting and responding to urgent but less important things like phone calls, email, requests for help from other people?
  • Do you find yourself gravitating towards the quick but less important tasks on your just so you can get the satisfaction of crossing things off your list?
  • Do you waste a lot of time reviewing your list and trying to decide what you should do next?

If you do, that’s because of the deficiencies of the to-do list system we discussed in Monday’s post, 4 Reasons to Dump Your To-Do List & Replace It with Something Better.

If you’re using a to-do list, stepping up to the next level of time/task management is relatively quick and easy and can eliminate many of the “symptoms” described above.

Create a Daily Priorities List

First thing each morning (or even the night before), take your big, overwhelming to-do list and from it create a new list that includes only the tasks you want to accomplish that day and list the tasks in order of importance.

Put away the big to-do list for the rest of the day.  Keep your new list of priorities in front of you.  Start at the top of the list and work your way down.  Simple, right?

What will this do for you?

  • You’re less likely to feel overwhelmed, because your daily priorities list is shorter and more manageable.
  • You won’t worry about or get distracted by tasks you’ll do on future days, because those tasks aren’t staring you in the face all day.
  • You’re less likely to get off track doing less important tasks, because your tasks are prioritized.
  • You can instantly see and evaluate your day’s progress, because you’re only looking at that day’s priorities.

While I believe creating a daily priorities list is a much better time/task management system than a do-do list, it can be improved upon as well. I’ll get to that in the next post in this series.  But if you’re currently using a to-do list, don’t let that stop you from giving a daily priorities list a shot.

Discussion

If you use a to-do list, can you identify which of the “symptoms’ described above can you identify with?  Are you willing to give creating a daily list of priorities a shot?

If you already create a daily priorities list, are you experiencing these benefits?

2 Responses to “Simple Step Beats To-Do List for Managing Time and Tasks”

  1. Paul,

    These are excellent tips. Time management is really a misnomer anyway. It truly is about managing priorities and making sure that those at the top are taken care of first. I look forward to your next post. Keep it up!

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