WORK-LIFE BALANCE / APR. 08, 2015
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Hacks to Boost Your To-Do List

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Whatever your line of work – or even if you’re a student, stay at home parent or currently unemployed – I bet you have a to-do list on the go. Mine is on my phone. Always in my pocket, always reminding me of the commitments and tasks I need to-do on a daily basis. And sometimes nagging at me when I’ve failed to make a dent in the list at all.

We all have days when the list of jobs gets longer rather than shorter; but if you find this happening too often, maybe you need some to-do list productivity hacks like these.

See also: How to Create a Functional to-do List

Write a better list

So, for starters, make sure your list is a good one. What works will depend a little on your personal preferences, but start with checking your list includes concrete actions and you have an idea of the time each action will take. If your list looks vague, try making it more specific – ’Print, complete, and post tax form’, for example, rather than just ’Tax’.

Also, add in an estimated timeframe. If you don’t know how long something will take, it’s impossible to know if your assigned tasks for the day are realistic. You can always amend and adjust the times listed as you go, but having ballpark figures provides immediate structure.

Split the list into topics

If you’re like me, your list will feature items from work, home, family, and other commitments like hobbies. But it can feel overwhelming – not to mention confusing – if your list reads ’Upload report. Buy eggs. Submit expenses. Call Dad’.

Split your list for greater clarity, and allow yourself to see the wood for the trees.

Prioritise

Eat that frog (in the words of Brian Tracy), and get more of the important stuff done today. Tracy’s theory revolves around the basic practise of completing the most important (even if unpalatable) task of the day first. By finding solutions to help you prioritise, you hack your to-do list without even thinking about it and form a habit of productivity that can be life-changing.

Get your natural groove

Once you have a better, prioritised and organised list, it is time to listen to your own natural body rhythms and work with them instead of against them. Don’t fight it if you’re an evening person, for example – as far as possible, schedule the least demanding tasks for the mornings and leave the things that require more concentration and brain power until later on in the day.

Use an app

And, of course, it wouldn’t be the same if there was not an app or two to help you out with your to-do list. Try Any.do [302 from http://www.any.do.] who claim to be the world’s best to-do list app (modest, too), and offer a product that works on mobile devices and desktops alike. It has neat features like a daily summary of your to-do tasks presented to you every morning, it can handle recurring appointments, and keep notes of days and times in a way that is easy to access and not too overwhelming.

Or if that’s not for you, check out Wunderlist, a customisable app which is slick and allows some prioritisation within your tasks for the day. Most importantly, it is easy to use and good-looking – making it a good choice if you struggle to get motivated with a scrumpled paper list or a ropey-looking iPhone note!

See also: Bringing Technology to the To Do List

The range of apps is developing, of course, and a quick search will throw up any number of choices. Try one out in combination with the hacks and ideas above, and see your productivity rocket!

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