I love checking things off of my to-do list, but sometimes those lists can turn into an unorganized, never-ending mess of chores and errands that ends up making me feel bad about myself till I finally give up and toss it in the recycling bin. If your lists have you feeling overwhelmed, here are 10 tips to expedite your day and make sure those “to-dos” actually get done.
1. Two-Minute Rule
We all have those tasks we avoid doing even though we know they won’t take long. We probably spend longer thinking about doing the thing than it would actually take to do it. If there’s anything on your list that would take two minutes or less to accomplish, do it right away. Don’t even bother writing it down (unless you’re into that). It’ll give you an instant sense of accomplishment.
2. Time Travel
Jump into your DeLorean and fast forward to a time when you’ve completed your to-do list. Okay, we might not have that technology yet—but try imagining how you’ll feel once you’ve finished your tasks and you’re free to enjoy the rest of your day. Feel motivated yet?
3. Schedule Your To-Dos
This one’s pretty self-explanatory: Try assigning specific tasks to a certain time of day. This works best when you already have a pretty normal daily routine in place.
Automate what you can. For instance, if you’re like me and coffee is something your household needs to keep in constant supply, you might consider signing up for a coffee subscription service. Whatever your “thing” may be, automating it makes it one less thing for you to worry about!
5. Ask Yourself Why
Why do I want to look for a new set of knives? Because our knives are old and dull. Why does it matter that our knives are old and dull? Because it means I spend an unnecessary amount of time on dinner prep. If you keep asking and answering this question in regard to each task on your list, you’ll eventually uncover a core value that you hold, which will help you prioritize the task in question.
6. Digital Or Paper?
Figure out which to-do list format works best for you and stick with that. If you know you get sucked into looking at Instagram if you keep your to-do list on your phone, then stick to good ol’ pen and paper. (It may still be best to keep long-term goals in a digital format so they don’t get lost among everyday tasks.)
7. Set A Time Limit
Try setting a time limit to keep yourself focused on the task at hand and get through more of the items on your overall list. You can always add the unfinished task to tomorrow’s list or come back to finish it later. You can also time yourself to get a better idea of how long your tasks take, then see if it’s possible to shorten that time (e.g., cut out time spent scrolling on your phone).
8. Write Your List The Day Before
Visualize tomorrow: What do you need to accomplish? Writing your to-do list the night before can help you organize your thoughts and prioritize what’s most important.
9. Check Your Supplies
If any of your tasks require specific supplies, make sure you have (or buy) them before putting the task on your to-do list. The acquisition of said supplies might need to go on your list before the task itself.
10. Create A ‘To-Don’t’ List
For those who have a hard time concentrating on a single task, keep a running list of things that tend to sidetrack you throughout the day. Put those on a “to-don’t” list to check back on later. Mindfully avoid letting those things distract you and try to cultivate healthy habits, concentrating on the things you want to get done first.