How to Increase Productivity Using To-Do Lists
Increase Productivity by Being More Efficient
There usually seem to be more things that need doing at work than can be accomplished in a normal day. You have the choice of working longer hours or becoming more efficient. The better choice is to be more efficient at work.
You may be able to delegate some work to others but many tasks usually remain that you’ll need to accomplish yourself. Using daily to-do lists is a simple but proven method of increasing your personal productivity or efficiency. It may take getting used to doing a list every day, but once mastered productivity will be increased and every day you'll accomplish more than you used to.
Increase Performance by Becoming More Effective
Besides helping you become more efficient, preparing daily to-do lists can help you be more effective, too. Greater efficiency means getting more tasks done in a day. Greater effectiveness results from getting the highest priority tasks completed each day. In being more effective your job performance will increase and you will merit more responsibility, more income, or, hopefully, both.
Prepare To-Do Lists Every Day to Increase Productivity
Here is a simple six-step process to follow in preparing your daily to-do lists:
- Either the night before or first thing in the morning prepare your to-do list.
- Review your previous day’s to-do list and include any tasks left undone.
- Prioritize your tasks by importance and urgency. Ask your boss or a colleague for help if you need it in deciding on priorities.
- Sort your to-do list by priority.
- Put an estimated time required next to the first three to five tasks.
- Do the tasks in the order of priority, completing each one before tackling the next.
This process will get easier the more you do it. The key thing is to make it a daily habit.
Allow for Emergencies and New Priorities
Things often happen in the workplace that make plans and to-do lists for the day obsolete. Emergencies of one kind or another crop up and demand your time and attention. Hot new priorities arise because of opportunities or threats. Or your boss or client wants you to do something right away. Maintain a flexible mind and a positive attitude and adapt effectively to changes to keep your productivity high.
Learn to Use Goals and Action Plans to Achieve More
Many items on your daily to-do list could reflect goals and action plans that are:
- Directed at high performance in the workplace
- Or for your personal development
Research shows that people who set goals accomplish more than those who don’t. See the Hub on how to set and achieve personal goals for detailed information on how goals and action plans work. The point is that if you do set goals and develop strategies and action plans, your daily to-do lists should be implementing them.
Learn to set goals that will help you achieve what you want or need to accomplish, and then create strategies, action plans, and to-do lists to be productive in achieving them.