When life gets busy, as it often does, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unable to focus. That’s why it’s a good idea to practice effective time management skills, regardless of what’s going on at work or at home. I know that when things get hairy for me, it’s incredibly helpful to sit down and prioritize my tasks by making a to-do list. Here, I’ll share some of the advantages of making a to-do list of your own, along with some other smart and healthy lifestyle habits worth adopting. Don’t let your responsibilities pile up and become unmanageable—you have all the tools you need to stay on track right here!
- Why Should You Make a To-Do List?
- More Ways to Bolster Your Efficiency
- Get Organized for Greater Success
Why Should You Make a To-Do List?
I love making to-do lists for myself, whether I’m at work, out running errands, or doing chores at home. Here are some of my favorite reasons to make a to-do list:
It Helps You Prioritize
When I have a number of tasks or chores I need to complete, it’s really helpful for me to jot them down so I can take inventory of everything. This helps me with prioritization: I see what needs to be done, I decide what’s most important and what can wait, and I get going.
It’s a Good Way to Get Organized and Stay Focused
If you consider yourself a type A personality like I do, this point should speak to you in particular. Making a to-do list is a good way to organize your tasks and clarify what needs doing. It can be a relaxing process, especially if you take the time to color-code your to-do items in a pretty notebook.
It’s a Great Time Management Tool
If you sometimes have trouble managing your time (and I think we all do!), making a to-do list can help you organize your day or week. What chores can you knock off your list today? What can wait? Is there a project you’ll need to complete over the course of several days? Having it all in front of you can help you to make better choices about how to budget your precious hours.
It Serves as a Good Reminder
When you have many balls in the air, it’s natural to worry that you’ll let something slip. Making a to-do list and referring to it when you’re feeling a bit scattered is a great way to remember what’s on your plate. Make sure everything’s on there: your dental check-up appointment, your early morning budget meeting, your kid’s school bake sale, etc. That way, even when you’re feeling stressed and exhausted, you won’t forget anything important.
It’s an Awesome Way to Feel Accomplished
Do you ever have those days where you feel like you’ve gotten nothing done, even though you’ve been going nonstop since breakfast? Keeping a regular to-do list will put your days in a better perspective. When you start to wonder where your day went, you can look at your list of tasks completed and see just how much you’ve accomplished. Sometimes I’ll add a task I’ve already completed to my to-do list just for the satisfaction of crossing it off. Knowing that I’ve gotten something done is great motivation to knock other items off my list.
Some people enjoy handwriting their lists, while others prefer to have them on their phone or computer (or synced between the two). Do whatever works best for you! Check out this article on the best to-do list apps if you’re inclined to keep your list on one of your devices.
More Ways to Bolster Your Efficiency
Making to-do lists is one useful tool for managing your time and increasing your productivity. Let’s take a look at a few more ways to succeed in your professional and personal lives alike.
Get Up Early
Do you want to start your day off on a great note? Try setting your alarm for an earlier wake-up. I know, it sounds like a drag, but getting up earlier and establishing a productive morning routine can have significant benefits for your physical and mental state. If getting up a full hour earlier sounds like utter torture, try setting your alarm just fifteen minutes earlier than usual. Be sure to adjust your bedtime accordingly so that you aren’t missing out on sleep—to be your most effective, you need your rest!
Take Time to Recharge
That brings me to my next point: relaxing and recharging. All work and no play will make you anxious, exhausted, and grouchy. Be sure to leave time for fresh air, physical activity, and your most beloved hobbies, as well as a good night’s sleep. Don’t think of them as wasting your time or procrastinating—part of being successful is knowing when to take a break.
Listen to the Experts
The most successful people are the ones who never stop growing and learning. Give your time management skills and productivity a boost with help from experts. For an inspiring and enlightening read, check out The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. You’ll discover powerful new strategies for achieving your goals, as well as everyday tips to live a better life.
Get Organized for Greater Success
Here’s one final tip for staying on top of everything in your life: get (and stay) organized! Decluttering your space is an excellent way to improve your focus. So, if you’ve been meaning to clean out your office desk, there’s no time like the present to recycle those old memos and store your important papers neatly in a drawer. It’s true in your home too, so fold and put away that dirty laundry, and toss that week-old junk mail. Discarding, recycling, and donating all the extraneous stuff in your space can help you to feel happier and more relaxed. And, when you’re in a better state of mind, it’s much easier to get stuff done and to do it well.
So, now that you have all these powerful tools at your disposal, what will you do with your improved productivity? Are there any tips or strategies you’d add to my list? Let me know in the comments!