Spring is the perfect time to take a look at those on-going to-dos and do a bit of tidying. Sometimes our to-do lists go on and on and we never actually get anything accomplished, then we feel like we are failing. The answer is not to beat yourself up about it, but to simply spring clean the to-do list. Here’s how:
- Reevaluate and rewrite: A disorganized list won’t set you up for success. Your list should act as a roadmap to get you through your day. I write my to-do lists daily and put down every single thing that needs to be done so I can hit the ground running first thing in the morning. If you have to-dos and phone numbers and notes all over your lists, rewrite them. Starting with a clean piece of paper or a new document can help clear your mind. This will also reduce stress. Clutter of any kind can send your stress hormones skyrocketing–and you don’t want that!
- Break it up: Don’t mix your home to-dos with your work to-dos. You should take all those to-dos and put them into smaller lists by category. That way, you are in a certain mindset when you look at each list and don’t have to do too much thinking about what you need to do first. You can just spring into action, one list at a time. Same goes for bucket list items such as learning Italian – they don’t belong on your daily to-do list.
- Get rid of tasks: Sometimes there are to-dos on our lists that aren’t actually doable. Maybe you don’t have the time or the resources for that task right now. Translation: it doesn’t belong on your list. Sometimes we have items that we will never do, going back to the learning Italian thing.. It’s OK to cross it off your list forever and not feel guilty. Another big one: sometimes the to-dos on our list need to be given to someone else to do.. Try services such as FancyHands1 and TaskRabbit2 for all of your outsourcing needs.
- Streamline your system: If you have Post-its all over the place, it may be time to rework your system. Use one central notebook for all your work to-dos. And if you’re on the go a lot, switch to some productivity apps like Evernote, Wunderlist, or Carrot. Knowing where you will be able to access your important to-dos will make all the difference. It’s like keeping your keys in the same place in your home; that way you don’t lose them and you always know where to go when you need them.
Paula Rizzo is an Emmy award-winning television producer and founder of the productivity site ListProducer.com. She’s also the author of Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed (Viva Editions).