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It's easy to be busy and a lot harder to be effective.

Follow this step by step plan to set up and use your To Do List effectively

Ever felt like you're in a world of chaos?

Always busy but not feeling the satisfaction of getting what matters done at the end of the day.

Feeling unorganised and no real plan to follow, or even if you're focusing your efforts in the right direction?

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Follow these stepts below and start feeling confident and in control, knowing the things that really matter are organised, prioritized and doable 

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How To Effectively Use Your To Do List

Stage 1 - Take the time to plan

Most of us don't take the time out to give ourselves a clear space to dream and work out what we really want. This is your chance!

Step 1 - The big picture, decide what matters.

  • This is where you decide what really matters to you. Most of us don't take the time out to give ourselves a clear space to dream and work out what we really want.
  • So for now forget about what has to be done tomorrow, this week, even this month.
  • Instead work from the top down, starting with life goals, look at the big picture. What do you really want to achieve?
  • By the end of Step 1 you will have a list of high level goals
Goals - What really matters to you

Step 2 - Make sets of sub-goals for each big goal

  • Here you will work on turning these often overwhelming big goals into ones you know you can manage and achieve.
  • Start by focusing on one high level goal.
  • Ask yourself what are the  main things that need to be done in order to accomplish this goal.
  • Repeat for all high level goals, breaking down each into a set of sub-goals. 
  • Having this list of sub-goals helps you to stay motivated.
  • Use each sub-goal as a milestone on your way to the bigger goal.
  • Each time you achieve a sub-goal, recognise it as a milestone in your progress and celebrate it
  • Now you have a motivational to do list !
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Step 3 - The nuts and bolts 'tasks'

  • Now you start to get into the nitty gritty. Its time to drill down on each sub goal & create a list of 'tasks' that are required in order to complete that sub goal.
  • These are real-life actionable tasks. Ones you're motivated to get done because you're confident that no matter how small they may seem, they are part of the plan as a step towards achieving those sub goals and ultimately your big picture goals.
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Stage 2 - Create your "Motivational" To Do List

Now you are ready to add your tasks into your To Do List. The key now is to follow these strategies in how to create and use your To Do List so that it works for you.

Step 1 - Make tasks Specific & Actionable

  • Before you add your tasks into a To Do List review each one and make sure it is specific, actionable and reachable. 
  • Each task should be something you can actually sit down, work on and accomplish. 
  • Don't confuse quality with quantity. Yes ticking off lots of tasks each day makes us feel good, but they are not effective use of our time if not directly related to our goals.
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Step 2 - Add Time Estimates and Deadlines to tasks

  • This step is crucial to making sure your to do list works effectively for you. 
  • Add time estimates, by thinking about how long it will approximately take to complete each task. 
  • The more realistic the to do list is the more effective it will be.
  • Setting these time estimates helps with another important step 'Scheduling' we will cover soon.
  • Now set deadlines for each task. This creates accountability and is also important when it comes to scheduling as some work needs to be started well in advance of a deadline to complete it. 

Step 3 - Stop Procrastination - Prioritise

  • Now that you have specific actionable tasks, with deadlines, its time to give each one a priority. A proven strategy to eliminate procrastination. 
  • A good place to start is to prioritise by deadline.
  • Once your list is scheduled, it will give you a list of the most urgent tasks for the day.  
  • In step 5 we will give you some ideas as to how to prioritise this daily list, to make sure you get them all done.

Step 4 - Schedule your tasks

  • Now that you have a set of specific actionable tasks, with time estimates, deadlines and priorities, you are ready for the next strategy, scheduling.
  • This prevents you from overloading your to do list with a never ending list of tasks, most likely to become a source of anxiety. 
  • Instead each day you will have a list of tasks that you know you can accomplish because they have been scheduled properly where you actually have time to complete them.
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Step 5 - Daily Prioritising Strategies

  • Top 3 for the day. You might determine these by: 
    • Most impact towards achieving your sub-goal.
    • An unfinished task from the day before.
    • Most urgent deadline
  • Group tasks together based on:
    • Tasks requiring high focus & concentration levels. Prioritise these for the time of the day that your productivity levels are higher.  
    • Easier tasks that require little effort or concentration. These can be prioritised at a time of the day you feel less switched on.
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Stage 3 - Keep Focused On Your Efforts

Now you are ready to add your tasks into your To Do List. The key now is to follow these strategies in how to create and use your To Do List so that it works for you.

Step 4 - Schedule your tasks

  • Now that you have a set of specific actionable tasks, with time estimates, deadlines and priorities, you are ready for the next strategy, scheduling.
  • This prevents you from overloading your to do list with a never ending list of tasks, most likely to become a source of anxiety. 
  • Instead each day you will have a list of tasks that you know you can accomplish because they have been scheduled properly where you actually have time to complete them.