By James Adams
Productivity is difficult to maintain, especially if you are trying to do it cold. The best way to get productive and keep it that way? You can’t beat a good task list; if done correctly, it will keep you motivated through any and every project or endeavour. If you want to create the perfect to-do list and really stick to it, here’s how:
1. Draw up a task list that you are committed to – A good task list doesn’t have a good deal of randoms; it is not likely that you will finish everything if your list is too long and drawn out. You have to prioritise, right from the beginning. Your task list should consist of things that are important and time sensitive. One of the things that challenges people the most is getting off task or using their time unwisely. This list isn’t for projects that you are thinking about tackling in the future. If you truly want to stay committed and cross things off the list, keep them in the present. Your motivation will only increase as you make your way down the list.
2. Be specific and stay away from multi-tasking – It may seem like you could double your output, but statistically multi-tasking inhibits true progress. Once you begin a task, follow through with it. Be as effective as you can and strive for a good deal of production. Write down exactly what you need to do; don’t be shy when stacking your list. If something is vague, it won’t get done correctly and you will not feel the need to go back and finish. Begin with realistic goals and make them as clear as possible. Do not stray from one until it is finished!
3. Plan out your day within the task list; account for everything – Some projects will take more time than others, but do yourself a favour and put a time limit on it. If you give yourself all day to complete one project, the chances are good that you will not get too far down the list. Part of productivity is planning everything out to the minute, the hour. Give yourself a good amount of time to finish each task, but don’t dawdle. If you allow your productivity level and motivation to decrease it will be much more difficult to get it back up again. Take into consideration errands that need to be run, chores around the house and walking the family dogs.
4. Avoid procrastination – It is important to remember that procrastination is not your friend and it is definitely not a friend to your effective task list. If you put something off until tomorrow, you are just expanding another task list. If you have the time and resources to get something down today, do it. Procrastinating gets easier and easier as it is continuously applied. Do not get stuck in a routine of pushing things off until tomorrow. It is exactly this way of thinking that is detrimental to any productivity or motivation to be had when using a task list.
5. Reward yourself for good work – Motivation is need is great quantities to continue marking tasks off of your list throughout the day. While crossing the last task off after it is completed is a great feeling, that feeling may wear off after awhile, leaving you lacking the proper motivation to stay productive. If this happens, you are more likely to abandon your task lists in the future. Give yourself a weekly goal: if you maintain at least 90 percent productivity for the week, take yourself out for dinner or a dessert. Treat yourself if you make a habit of becoming more consistent.
Agreed, it can be frustrating to work off a list day in and day out. However, there are plenty of ways to make it challenging and exciting. If you stay on task, your productivity level is sure to increase; it is just a matter of finding the appropriate motivation to keep you steady. If you prioritise, set reasonable goals and avoid distractions that put you off task, you will be on your way to effectively using a task list in no time at all!