By Rebecca Kington

Making ‘to do lists’ that do work


We couldn’t help but notice that to-do lists have been talked about a lot over the last week. For the most part, we’re seeing that traditional ways of putting together to-do lists are being questioned and there are some good ideas around for making lists work better.

So what are the ideas and what tips are being shared that we can all learn from to help us get stuff done faster? In this blog post I’ve captured some key articles being shared that just might change your thinking.

Rethinking what goes into your to-do list

I’m not sure what your to-do list looks like but it wouldn’t be unusual for it to look like a shopping list of stuff you need to get done.

The Courier Mail in the last week covered off some tips from time management expert Daniel Markovitz. He says lists fail because they lack context – in other words the shopping list of tasks we often use don’t take account of how long tasks take. So his advice is to:

  • break your list  into manageable chunks
  • use a calendar to manage tasks
  • reward yourself when you reach milestones

Read the full article from the Courier Mail >

A new take on an old concept

What if you completely re-think how you organise your day? Fast Company posed the challenge by covering off less traditional ideas raised author Ben Schott.

The article notes that Schott questions the idea of lists being in straight lines and suggest writing your to do list as a word cloud starting from the centre of your page. He says “start in the center [sic] of a page and write items in spatial relation to one another, so that you create clouds of related tasks.” I like this idea – pretty much the same as mind-mapping which can be really useful for looking at how tasks relate to one another rather than seeing each item as something isolated you can cross off.

Read the full article from Fast Company >

Practical advice to help you get stuff done today!

I felt the Huffington Post had the most practical advice for making lists in the last week. In their piece covering a range of productivity tips, just knowing these 8 facts will make you way more productive, the author, Todd Van Luling, captures a range of tips from experts. He notes  that our lists should not include “lofty goals” but rather include small tasks that help us move toward something bigger.  He also says that making sure our lists are realistic will ward us off from feeling like a failure when things don’t get done – I think that sounds pretty sensible don’t you? Read the full article from Huffington Post >

How do you order your day? Tell us your tips for being extra productive.

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