I have been a big fan of to-do lists for several years now. You write down everything you have to do and supernaturally almost all of it gets done without you even noticing it. This is amazing. I want to offer you a quick 5W1H review for the most efficient to-do list. After that, you will just get addicted – once a to-do-lister, always a to-do-lister!
Who – You! Nowadays life tends to be more and more busy. We always have something to do. We are so glad we gain time with computering and other technologies, but somehow the solution of routine tasks has not been found yet. Life is a permanent M-I (Mission Impossible) – once you have accomplished a mission you have to manage the next one. If you don’t do it, the job will never get done. You need a strategy.
What – TDL! Your best tool is a pen and a note-book – alright, some people prefer more advanced devices. Write down every single tiny thing you have to do: the birthday you have to attend next week, the book you have to finish, the project you have to get done for next month, your flight tickets you have to buy for next year. It really does not matter how important, just write all them down. The least important things will appear on the following lists until the day you feel like doing them. The most important part is not to leave anything out.
Where – When – It does not matter. As soon as you have something to do, just write it down – in the bus to work, in the middle of a conference (if you’re not the speaker!), during class or at work. Your teacher or boss cannot complain about your efficiency if you take five seconds to write down a couple of words.
Why – Because there is an hidden power behind to-do lists. What you write down will get done. Have you ever heard of the power of words? This basically means that whatever you say/write about yourself will tend to happen. With TDLs it is almost the same things. You are not talking about yourself but about the things you want to achieve. Achievement is for most of us a great reward – finishing a book, having had a great evening with friends, having spent great family vacation ; all those things are achievements. There is a beginning and an end, and in between you need to get prepared for it. It has been proven that people who work with TDLs gain better results. Also, there was a study from a top U.S. University. Those students who had written down their life-goals at the beginning of their studies ended up being where they had planned to be 10 years earlier compared to those who did not have plan anything.
How – 1. Prioritize! For tasks-lists the most important is to start with the most relevant ones. This is also a great tool to schedule and not be caught short with time. 2. Check it! Isn’t it the best moment when you take your pen and you cross out what you finished? It is such a good feeling! 3. Date! Do not forget to always write a date at the beginning. A TDL has to be measurable. One way to measure success in a project is to see how long it took you to accomplish it. 4. Be specific! The second tool to measure success properly is to see how close you got to your specific goal. It has to be feasible. 5. Dream big! For life goals I would seriously advise to write extra-ordinary things: “do a world-tour, swim in all continents, speak 7 languages by the age of 30, find the best job with that (specific) salary, go to the ballet once a year, have my first book published before 30, etc.” There are goals that we obviously want to achieve, and others that it would be cool to but not really necessary.