Many people use to-do lists on a regular basis, but they don’t always end up actually accomplishing on the tasks on the list.

Do you end up putting way more on your daily lists than you can actually accomplish? Look back to the time when you yourself came up with your list of things that you needed to do in a day or week and see how many times or how many of those lists you have completed. Although you might want to tell yourself you got it all done, you probably had a few things that you postponed and carried over to another time — or just ended up never doing. And hopefully those things you never got around to weren’t important! 😉

We’re all guilty of it. Most of us will focus on the easy stuff or the things we don’t mind doing, and then continue to put off the items which are more involved or which we just don’t want to do.

Sticking to the list can be a challenging task but there are several ways to make sure your to do list gets completed every week.

Make your to do list your best friend as you go about your day getting work done. Your list can keep you honest and on-task just as well as it can prevent you from doing things you shouldn’t be doing. The deal is that you have to stick to it to make it one useful tool.

photo credit: °Florian via photopin cc

photo credit: °Florian via photopin cc

Ways to stick to your to do list:

  • Put everything on it. – Whatever the task may be, write it down on your list. Your list will allow you to remember and keep track of everything that needs to be done so if it’s not there, there is a tendency that it slips your mind. Remember that your list is only as good as the things that you put on it.
  • Be on-course. – Stick to the tasks that you have listed down on your list. If you start to go off the list, you can get distracted and end up doing things you hadn’t planned on doing. Before you realize it, time is running out and you haven’t ticked off a thing on the list.
  • Keep tasks small & specific. – We all have a tendency to get overwhelmed with big tasks — but if we break them down into smaller parts, it makes them much more achievable. So instead of stating you need to clean out the basement, state that you’ll spend 15 minutes in there today or clean out one shelf.
  • Have just one list. – Even though you may be fond of making lists, make sure that you stick to one. Don’t scribble on post-it notes and post them anywhere. Multiple lists can only lead you to lose track and forget some tasks.
  • Keep updated. – Keep the list with you all the time. Review your list everyday. Cross out or check the things that you already have accomplished and add those that need to be done as you go on during the day or week. Using lists in your phone or apps like Evernote which sync “in the cloud” make it that much easier to keep up with your lists on the go, at home, the office or wherever you are.
  • Visibility. – When you see your list, you are reminded of the things that you need to do, which ultimately leads to productivity. If your list is nowhere to be seen, your tasks may also be out your mind.
  • Be realistic. – Sometimes, you can be caught up with making lists that you don’t realize how long it can get. Be realistic with your tasks. Whether you do your lists daily or weekly, think about how much time each day you can undertake for your list and go from there. Usually 6-8 tasks per day are all you will really get to, along with all your usual daily stuff.
  • Erase, erase, erase. – Sometimes, we put so much on the list and it has become so long. You may add a lot of things there but do not fret. As you go along, you may realize that it wasn’t all that important. When that happens, cross it off. All you have to do is to delete unnecessary tasks.
  • Motivate yourself. –Seeing marks on your list can be very fulfilling. When you are through with a task give it a mark, a check or an X, it doesn’t really matter. These marks only goes to show that you were able to accomplish and that will be your motivated to continue crossing off some more as you go along.
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