Some days you look at your to-do list and just feel completely overwhelmed.
You start a task with good intentions but struggle to get started or stick at it. So then you try and begin a different one and find the exact same thing. Meanwhile, you’re worrying about all the other items that are stacking up, still waiting to be looked at.
If you find your motivation goes AWOL every time you try to get things done, then getting organized before you start could be the key to achieving more of your goals.
Follow these tips to break through a to-do list slump and get yourself back on track.
- Consolidate all your to-do lists into one
Get out of the habit of keeping multiple to-do lists and keep everything in one notebook or on one device, like the notes app on your smartphone.
Have a brainstorming session to make sure you’ve added everything that needs to be on your one list, for every area of your life. Although this might seem like a stressful task at first, it’s way better to get everything out than to continually have new items pop in your head throughout the day.
- Break big tasks down
Break big tasks down into smaller ones to work on them bit by bit. List out all the activities that are involved in a big project and make them separate items for your to-do list.
For instance, organizing a trip would be separated into deciding on a budget; researching locations; planning transport; booking accommodation; finding out about activities and things to do, and anything else.
- Organize your to-do list into tasks that are alike
Once you have your brainstormed, complete list, organize it into tasks that are alike: physical errands; items to purchase; topics to research; online tasks; appointments to schedule; and any other categories.
If tasks for the same project are separated onto different lists, that’s fine. Don’t skip this step as it’s important for the next one.
- Complete tasks in batches
The secret to powering through your to-do list is to batch the tasks and do similar items with each other. So you’ll fill out all paperwork together; do any online research all in one sitting; get everything ready to do your physical errands at once; make phone calls at the same time etc.
This will save so much time and effort, as opposed to randomly moving between different types of tasks. Set a limit for things like online research so you don’t waste too much time on them.
- Alternate big and small tasks
If you have tasks that are on a deadline then do the soonest one first, however if you have more flexibility, do the smallest and easiest task first.
Try to alternate between bigger and small tasks to make your motivation last longer. If you still feel paralysed by the bigger tasks, then just move through all the small ones first.
Keep the list by your bed so you can add anything else that comes up before you go to sleep.
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