Some prefer their to do list digital and colour coded, whilst others chose scattered notes full of wild exclamations. But there's one thing all lists seem to have in common - the ability to give us an instant feeling of total overwhelm. No matter how hard we try, with hours of overtime and far too much caffeine, the reality is that it’s often not possible to get everything done.
We’re all guilty of over-promising, and the thought we could fail to deliver, is incredibly anxiety-inducing. But what if you could leave the office this evening feeling accomplished, without anything actually being taken from from your lengthy list?
Keep A Daily To Do List & A Brain Dump List
When your mind is racing, dumping all your thoughts on paper will help you gain some mental clarity. But if you keep all of this on your to do list, it's only going to lead to more overwhelm. We like keeping separate lists - one master list of things to do and ideas to explore, and one short daily list of the most important things.
The key to mastering your mind? Assessing your priorities well. Figure out what tasks are most essential e.g. those that produce revenue or push you closer to your goals, and what can wait till you have time. Even when everything seems urgent or important, you can always assess them and rank their immediacy. It’ll be so much easier to help you avoid that feeling of panic.
There's only so much that can be done in a day, so don't fill your daily list with 100 different things that all take time to complete. Consider how long a task will take, and when your brain will be most in gear so that you can achieve them. If you need to, break up a big project into small, manageable steps that you can do everyday.
Keep It Old School with Paper & Pen
Digital might rule most things, but not our to do lists. Going between your to-do list, emails, calendar and all your other apps is simply exhausting… and often distracting! Turn off your phone and gain some clarity from jotting everything down in an old school notebook instead.
Schedule in Breaks
When planning out your day, be realistic about your capabilities. You're not super human, so don't expect yourself to concentrate fully for 9 hours straight. Schedule in time to take breaks, be that 10 minutes for a coffee, or a half an hour lunch break. It'll make you more productive in the long run!
Create a Done List
This might not be for everyone, but often the never-ending list of things left to do at the end of the day is pretty discouraging. But progress is still progress, no matter how small! Adding a done section to your list will help you focus on what you have achieved, as well as what is yet to be done.