Many of us know that a to-do list can help us stay organised and focused, providing us with a list that we can tick off as we complete each task. It often gives us a feeling of accomplishment as we tick things off our list.
However, lists can quickly become very long and we can feel overwhelmed by what’s in front of us. As a consequence, we can lose focus on what is important and struggle to work out what to do next.
So, what’s the solution? It’s simple; don’t have just one list – try using four!
Here’s what to do. To start, think about all the tasks assigned to you and ask yourself the following questions:
- Which of them need to be done and are also truly urgent and are time sensitive (i.e . they must be done today)? Write these down on your first list.
- Which ones need to be done as a priority but aren’t time sensitive and/or don’t need doing today? Write these down on your second list and block out time later in your diary to leave time for them.
- Which ones don’t need to be done by you and could be done by someone else? Can you delegate some tasks that really don’t need your input? Losing control of your work and delegating can be difficult, but it is a necessity to prevent you from being overloaded. Write these down on your third list and give them to other people to complete.
- Ask yourself which tasks really need to be done. Which tasks don’t really add any value and could be dropped all together with no or little impact? Write these down on your fourth list to remind you of all the things that are not worth your time and ultimately you don’t need to do.
Once you reorganise your priorities, you will feel much more in control, you can plan out your week more efficiently and can focus on the work that really matters to you.