Planning my week is such an important part of my weekly routine. Not only is it something I love to do but it’s something that I need. I just have to be as prepared as I possibly can, I just find myself more productive that way. So, I thought I’d share how I get to my daily to-do lists & the steps that I take in order to make one so that it doesn’t feel too overwhelming, instead arms me with a plan that makes me feel like I’ve got this.
Step One: Get Up To Date
I cannot just have a to-do list without a weekly schedule. If I was to have meetings all day Monday then the chances are that I’m not going to get a lot done off my to-do list, if anything. I’d be more inclined to set tiny tasks for the Monday, perhaps tasks I could get done in-between meetings. If I was to have a huge meeting Wednesday afternoon then I’d be inclined to leave my morning free for other tasks on my to-do list. I keep my iCal & diary pretty well synced at all times so that I can avoid things such as double-booking myself but more than that, so I know where am & where I need to be at certain times of the day & then everything else more or less plays out around that. Before I even begin to think about a to-do list I’ll always check my weekly plan for appointments, event & meetings. You’ve really got to blend the two together in order to create a to-do list that actually has a chance of being completed.
Step Two: Be Realistic
There is something about us as humans that seems to make us incredibly unrealistic with our time. If only I had a dollar for every time I thought I’d get something done in an hour but actually it took 3, right? Our to-do lists can sometimes make us feel flustered when we aren’t being realistic & ultimately, that’s when we become unproductive. A long-arse to-do list ain’t going to be completed in a day. Even if some of the tasks are small, you’ll end up getting distracted especially over tasks that have taken longer than expected. Quality over quantity is important to remember in this instance. Chop down your list, factor in plenty of time for each task & if you think you’ll have a longer to-do list on a certain day, make sure your schedule reflects that.
Step Three: Framework
Easier said than done, I know but the sooner you find out planning & organisation framework is going to work best for you. Do you prefer weekly diary & a notepad for to-do lists or would are you more likely to use something like a Bullet Journal? It’s totally up to you but once you find what framework works best for you, planning & organising you life will become a dream.
Step Four: Three Tasks Per Day
You could have the longest to-do list in the world but on that list if you had to only complete three tasks, what would they be? I ask myself this question every time I’m writing my daily to-do list. It’s a little bit stripped back I know but it makes perfect sense. Three tasks a day splits your day up nicely - one task when you first clock in, another before lunch & then another after lunch before you pack up for the day. Of course, you might other smaller tasks on your list that you could do in smaller pockets of time but when it comes to the meaty stuff, I only factor in three tasks a day which gives me the highest possible chance of actually getting them done.
Step Five: Be Precious With Your Time
If you still feel like you’re struggling to find your productivity flow then perhaps it’s time to be more precious with your working hours. It’s about working out what tasks make you feel great & like you’re getting through your workload & then finding the things that can be removed from your schedule - either temporarily or perhaps someone else can do them - so that you have more time to do those tasks. Something else that might also be helpful is to work out what days of the week you’re at your most productive but also what times of the day you’re most productive. Be selfish, allocate time efficiently & get shit done.