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Better to-do lists tool - Smarter Everyday


Published on

Lists aren’t inherently complicated but many people use
them badly. You wouldn’t watch a colour TV in black and
white, so get your to-do list out and shape it up with
this list optimisation tool.

Published in: Business, Technology
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Better to-do lists tool - Smarter Everyday

  1. 1. Better Lists Lists aren’t inherently complicated but many people use them badly. You wouldn’t watch a colour TV in black and white, so get your TO-DO list out and shape it up with this list optimisation tool. Who this tool is for As projects get going and our brain ticks away anticipating what we need to do next, our list of tasks gets longer. If you keep adding things to your to-do list and its expansion is making you feel overwhelmed, then this tool is for you. If you don’t have some sort of to-do list but carry all your pending work in your head, then this tool is definitely for you too. What you will get out of it After using this tool, you’ll have manageable lists of tasks and actions that you can work from. You’ll have more thinking space as you won’t be worrying about remembering what you need to do next. What you’ll need • An hour free of interruptions • Your existing task lists and associated tools (pen, phone, computer) • For best results use after Project Focus Tool. Tools created by CLICK HERE TO LEARN HOW TO WORK SMARTER.
  2. 2. The tool With your to-dos to hand go through the following checklist and upgrade your list. 1. Time sensitive and large tasks If your list includes time-sensitive activities or tasks that need to be worked on over several days take these off your list and schedule them in your calendar. (See the ‘Managing your calendar’ tool). 2. Turn task reminders into instructions Single word memory joggers aren’t up to the job. We’ve all fallen victim to meaningless clues on our lists. Task items should be actionable instructions with a verb, perhaps with a stab at the time required too. 3. Turn any ambiguous or unhelpful items on your list into clear instructions For larger tasks consider how they could be reduced into discrete steps that will make them easier to start. 4. Is your list uncomfortably long? Long lists may be exhaustive but they can be hard to navigate and overwhelming. Consider organising your list into a number of smaller ones themed in a relevant way, for example: • A place - such as home, work or town • A tool - such as your accounting software • A time - such as a weekly scheduled meeting • A person - such as your deputy or your partner • A project session – such as DIY or client X Review comments on Pitch doc and amend 90 MINS A BB C
  3. 3. 5. Let go of stuff Are there items on your to-do list you never get around to doing? Everyone makes plans, and has ideas, sometimes they have to be left behind because other things have taken over. Create a ‘backburner’ list for things that aren’t going to happen soon, but that you might want to come back to later. 6. Do you have a mix of tasks and projects? A task is not the same as a project. Projects are made up of a series of tasks. Having both on the same list is unhelpful: a project title does not tell you what to do. Instead keep a separate list of your projects. Use this as a reminder of all the areas you want to be working on that you can quickly review to make sure you are moving forward. 7. Is everything on your list aligned to your objectives? Are you committing to work you shouldn’t be doing, that distracts you from your most important goals? Try to negotiate yourself out of them, delegate them to someone more appropriate or move them to your backburner. 8. Finding a good home for your list Paper works well and lists can live on smartphones and apps too. Tools like Outlook, Evernote and Basecamp allow you to share lists with and assign tasks to team mates. For agenda lists you can even keep them within a calendar item for everyone to see and add to. 9. Review your lists regularly At least once per week (see the ‘weekly review’ tool). If it helps, glance over them daily (See the Daily Review tool.) 10. Do some work Fine tuning your lists isn’t real work. If you’ve turned your lists from evil-looking monsters to handy companions helping you through your week, tell us on Twitter @NokiaAtWork #smartereveryday tasks to do projects