To-do lists are essential to good time-management practice. They provide a guideline for what items are to be completed within a given amount of time. You may want to create a list weekly or daily. Either way, to-do lists help you remember what you need to do.
Completing a list each day can help you see how much you have got done. Place a mark next to high-priority items so you know at a glance what you should devote your time to first.
In order to prioritise tasks, you have to clearly set a “priority categories” for each one. For example, how do you categorise something you have to do today to make it stand out from something that must be done by next week? The first step is to come up with categories to help you decide what tasks should be done first. Your categories might look something like this:
- Absolutely Urgent: These must be done right away or by a deadline and are important to your job, your family, or to you personally.
- Urgent: These are important to you, your family, or your job, but don’t have a deadline.
- Chores: These are things you don’t necessarily want to do but have to do anyway.
- Maybe: These are things you would like to do, but they aren’t especially important and it doesn’t matter if you do them today, tomorrow, or next week.
- Dreams, Wishes, and Ideas: These are things you might like to do but have no immediate importance in your life.
Using categories such as these may be confusing at first, but, as you continue to work with them, you will start automatically assigning categories as soon as you receive a task. Once you do that, you can figure out when something should be done and whether you need to give immediate attention to it or whether it can wait.
Just as important as categorising your tasks, is finding a way for you to manage the list. Task lists are ever changing and evolving. New tasks are added, some tasks are completed and others are no longer important for now.
Time management is all about focus and consistency. Put these basic skills into practice every day and you will see that managing your time will get easier and easier.