Do often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do? Do you sometimes forget to do something important? If so you are not alone. Most of us work in an environment of information overload. One of the most useful tools to tackle this problem are To-Do lists.
To-Do lists are organized and prioritized lists of everything you have to do. You can have as many to-do lists as you need. It is better if you separate your work, home and personal lists. While you may not want to become a full-time getting things done (GTD) type person, starting to keep a to-do list is a good first step in time management.
There are many options for to-do lists. First let’s look at electronic options.
- Microsoft Outlook has to-do lists built-in in the form of tasks. In Outlook you can drag an email to the tasks folder and Outlook will automatically create a task with all of the key information. You can set a due date and a reminder. If the task requires more tasks before it can be completed you can create those tasks in Outlook as well. You can even assign tasks to other individuals. You can find out more about using Microsoft Outlook by visiting their web site here. Watch the short demo for a quick start.
- If you have a cell phone with Microsoft Outlook installed you can even sync your tasks to you cell phone. There are also numerous applications for cell phones related to task management. The web site Handango has over 151 hits on a “todo” search. I am sure you will find something for your phone there. Visit the Handango web site to find out.
- There are numerous web sites that offer help with to-do lists and reminder systems. One of the most popular is Remember The Milk. Their site allows you to create and manage tasks from anywhere. You can set it up to send you an email or SMS message reminder. There are versions for Google Calendar, Twitter, Gmail, iPhone/iPod touch and Blackberry that allow you to integrate with those platforms.
You may be a pen and paper type of person. If so there are options for you as well.
- The site D*I*Y Planner has a nice selection of to-do and task lists for you to download and print out. They come in different formats such as A4 for use in your planner, regular notebook size and the ever handy Hipster size. Click on the documents and templates tabs to view them all. It is also a good resource for time management.
- If you feel you need a complete system already assembled and ready for you to start on you will find many options to purchase at the Franklin Covey web site and click on “Get Organized”. You can build your own planner with their tools. My personal favorite is the Leadership planner series.
Whatever method you choose a to-do list will help you organize and prioritize your life. They can make you more productive less forgetful. Once you start I think you will see how much easier it can make your work, home and personal life.