How To: Keep your To-Do list focused

“I don’t know about the rest of you, but I suck at maintaining a to-do list for anything that isn’t a single topic. I found this article interesting, so I’ve summarised it for you” – Ben

The five points summarised:

1. Choose the right tool: This isn’t all about technology. For some people the tool of choice might be a Moleskine notebook and a ballpoint pen. For others, it’s a whiteboard hanging in the office. Whatever you do, focus on finding an option that works with your lifestyle. If you’re an iPhone addict, Teux Deux might be a good choice. If you do a lot of work offline, maybe sticky notes will do the trick.

2. Be in the now: While it might be tempting to write down everything you have to do for the next few weeks, try to focus on what’s on tap for the day or two ahead. Also, use a lot of verbs. This is something that author David Allen talks about in his popular book Getting Things Done. Instead of writing a broad task such as “Social Media Strategic Plan,” change it to an actionable item such as “Complete competitive analysis for strategic plan.”

3. Learn to delegate: Productivity blogger Merlin Mann talks about this regularly on his site 43folders. Instead of overwhelming yourself with too much work, think about people on your team or colleagues who can help you complete a task. For example, while you might stress all day something small like faxing a contract to a client, consider delegating this to-do item with an entry such as “Email David to ask him to send off contract.”

4. Prioritize and reward: Your to-do list doesn’t always have to be painful. While it should be a place where you manage your tasks, in order of importance, it’s also a good idea to include some mini rewards on your list. If you know you have three or four things to do within the first hour at work, at the end of that specific list of items add a line such as “Grab a Starbucks coffee” or “Make restaurant reservations” as a way to break up your day and mix up your to-dos.

5. Plan ahead: Set aside some time toward the end of the day to revisit your to-do list and add items for tomorrow. This will help to keep your mind clear at night, so you’re not haunted during your sleep about what’s on your plate for the day ahead. Remember to include items that you didn’t get done today, and check your calendar to make sure you’re not forgetting anything that might be tied to a specific appointment.

Source: Fastcompany via Lifehacker