1. Pick a medium.
To-do lists come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s all about what works for the individual.There’s a huge range of digital apps that help create personal to-do lists.
2. Make multiples.
Create a few lists of stuff that needs to get done. One should be a master list, with every item you’d like to accomplish in the long-term. Another can be a weekly project list, with everything that needs to take place in the next seven days.
3. Keep it simple.
There’s nothing more intimidating than a mile-long to-do list. And, realistically, it’s impossible to get that much stuff done in 24 hours anyway. One trick for keeping a HIT list simple is to make a list of stuff you want to do today and slice it in half.
4. Meet the MITs.
That’s “most important tasks.” Start the list with at least two items that absolutely must get done today, so you don’t end up vacuuming instead of finishing a project report due tomorrow. Even if the rest of the list stays untouched, the really meaningful stuff will get finished.
5. Break it down.
One way to reduce the fear factor and make goals seem more manageable is to break projects into smaller tasks.
6. Time it.
Now that you’ve made the list (and checked it twice), go back and put a time estimate next to every item. It might even help to turn the to-do list into a kind of schedule with specific times and places.
7. Make it public.
Sometimes the best way to stay accountable is to have someone watching over us. Try sharing that to-do list, whether by posting it on the refrigerator or setting up a digital calendar that everyone on the work team can access.
8. Start fresh.
Make a new list every day so the same old items don’t clog up the agenda. It’s also a useful way to make sure we actually get something done every 24 hours.