To-do lists, task list, don’t forget lists. We all use lists of some type to remind us and organize our tasks. Learning how to create and better use these lists will make them more usable to us and more efficient to create.
Gina Trapani author and founding editor of Lifehacker wrote an excellent article for Fast Company. Work Smart: How to Write a To-Do List first shows you the differences between a project, goal, and a task. Next she explains how to break lists down into manageable bites. Finally she shows you how to manage your lists so they are actually useful.
A project is a big undertaking that involves several tasks. A goal is something you want to achieve through both tasks and repetitive actions. “Clean out the garage,” “Save $5,000,” “Learn how to speak French”–these are projects and goals, and they don’t belong on your to-do list. They’d just sit there and haunt you, because it wouldn’t be clear where to start. Reserve your to-do list for the next steps that move a project along.
Creating Better Lists
Since we all use lists it makes sense to improve on our list creation and utilization skills. Personally I always carry a pocket list with me to jot notes during the day. Read “Management Tools – Time and Problem Management Simplified” for great tips on using a pocket list.
One of my recent tools is using a modified Cornell method sheet for note-taking and lists. Read “Develop Your Own Note-Taking Best Practices” for tips on note-taking and to download my modified Cornell method template.
To-do lists are great tools when you are overwhelmed with information and tasks. If you do not use to-do lists and want to start read “To-Do Lists – Getting Started” for tips on different media and methods to use for creating to-do lists
How to Write a To-Do List
Back to Gina Trapani’s great article. Below is a video where she explains all the basic concepts of creating and managing to-do lists.