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Published on June 30, 2020

How to Organize Tasks With A Weekly To-Do List

How to Organize Tasks With A Weekly To-Do List

It takes commitment to remain focused and make your week productive. A research conducted by the University of California revealed that you need 30 minutes to refocus after being distracted on a task [1]. With so many distractions pulling at our attention, how can we complete our weekly to do lists?

With the introduction of new technologies and the popularization of remote work, you can expect more and more distractions. Meanwhile, it is possible to relieve yourself of pressure and burden when you master how to organize your chores, tasks, and responsibilities with a weekly to-do list.

What Is a To Do List?

A to do list is a schedule that itemizes what you need to and when you have to do it. The essence of a to do list is to enable you to simplify your life and not make it burdensome.

How to Prepare Weekly To Do Lists

Follow these steps to get yourself ready for the week ahead with a comprehensive to do list.

1. Select a Channel

It is important to find a medium that works for you. You can utilize a pen and paper or leverage digital applications in managing your to-do lists. However, research suggests that you can remember information better when you write by hand[2]. Nevertheless, find what helps motivate you more and stick with that.

2. Develop Multiple Lists

Your multiple lists should contain:

  • Master list
  • Weekly project list
  • HIT list

Your master list includes every task you want to achieve in the long-term. For instance, complete all Lifehack courses, clean out the bathtub, etc. Your project list contains all the tasks that demand your attention within the next seven days. And then, your high-impact list, or HIT list, includes tasks that you need to attend to within 24 hours.

Every evening, identify the items you need to move from your weekly to-do list to your HIT list for the next day.

3. Make It Simple

Your weekly to-do list should not be intimidating. You only have 24 hours. Thus, you can simplify your HIT list by highlighting the chores and responsibilities you want to complete today and divide them into two. Ten items are perfect for your HIT list.

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Don’t forget this!

The accumulation of your HIT list makes up your weekly to do list.

Begin your HIT list with 2 or 3 important tasks you need to carry out within 24 hours. That way, you don’t waste time cleaning the bathtub instead of completing the presentation that is due tomorrow morning.

4. Break the Goals Down

Instead of having an item such as “work on a kindle book,” you can be more specific by making your goals more manageable. That way, you will eliminate the fear factor. You could have something like: write the book outline on Monday, write the first chapter on Tuesday, and the next chapter the following day.

5. Include Detailed Information

You should support every item on your weekly to-do list with information to complete the task. For instance, if an item says “register for a course,” you should include the website and course title. That way, you save yourself the time of scouring for information later.

6. Time Every Item

You have 10,080 minutes each week to complete all the tasks on your weekly to do lists. It is reasonable to allocate time for every item on your list. For instance: Write the introduction from 9 am-12 pm, clean the bathtub from 4-5 pm, pick up some groceries at the supermarket from 5-6 pm. Once your time expires, you move on to the next item.

7. Establish Breaks

You need to rest a bit after cleaning the bathtub before setting out. You can allocate 15 minutes to relax your mind or prepare for the next task.

8. Make It Visible and Public

You can share your to-do list with your accountability partner. Also, post it on your sticky notes, or set up a digital calendar accessible by anyone on your team.

9. Allocate Time for Scheduling

It takes time to prepare your weekly to do lists. And the best approach is to schedule a time for that task. Block out your Friday afternoon for organizing items on your weekly to do lists.

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10. Start With a Fresh Slate

Don’t allow old tasks to clog up your schedule. Ensure you have a new list each week. Complete your HIT list each day so you don’t block your weekly project lists with old items.

Now, it is not enough to prepare your weekly to do lists; you need to master how to prioritize with the list for maximum productivity.

How to Prioritize Weekly To Do Lists

Use the following techniques to maximize your productivity through prioritization.

1. Use the Getting Things Done (GTD) Method

David Allen, a productivity expert and author, affirmed that you can be productive despite having a long to-do list. How you plan is what counts. The Getting Things Done technique enables you to focus on your Most Impactful Tasks (MITs) instead of the number of tasks.[3]

2. Focus on One Task at a Time

You are aware of which task needs urgent attention. All you need is to focus on that task before taking out the next.

It’s not a long list that kills, but multitasking.

If you choose not to multitask, you will realize that you can make notable progress on difficult projects. Not only that, your stress level will go down, and you will find more joy in the tasks you’re completing[4].

3. Evaluate Your Weekly Progress

It is not easy selecting a few important plans for each week. That’s why you need to reflect every weekend on what worked the previous week, and what did not.

Also, anytime you complete a task, don’t just tick it as “completed,” but label it as “Progress.”

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On Friday evening, assess your Progress list, and study every item. How could it be improved? Follow this process every week.

4. Ask for Help

Sometimes, things get out of hand. The best strategy is to request assistance from your teammates, managers, or accountability partner.

Avoid procrastinating on activities that go beyond your capabilities.

5. Learn to Say No

Sometimes, you feel compelled to consent to every request, and you would rather sacrifice all items on your to do list to say yes.

Say no[5] to things that your schedule and energy cannot accommodate. Do what counts towards your long-term objectives.

6. Use Friday Evening to Reflect

You should reflect on your week after work on Friday. That way, you can enjoy a worry-free weekend and kick-start the new week in the right direction. A lot of managers plan on Saturday evenings or Sunday evenings. Ensure you find the time that suits you.

7. Focus on Outcomes, Not the Method

Focusing on results helps you to determine how to assess your achievement. If you focus on the methods, you may find it difficult to say if an item has been achieved.

A result-oriented approach will enable you to mark your goal as “Progress.”

8. Share Your Productivity Strategy

When you share what you are working on with your teammates, it helps you enjoy a maximum level of support. Also, others will treat you as engaged.

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Furthermore, when you have actualized your goals, share the results with your team and inspire them to do the same.

9. Choose Themes for Your Week

If you have different tasks, you can divide your weekly to do list into five days of different work sections. Then, take out those tasks each week. Ensure you carry your teammates along on your day’s focus.

Jack Dorsey[6], Twitter’s CEO, was highly focused when he was doing 80-hours of work per week in two companies. He was exceptionally focused on planning his day, so he developed a theme for his week:

  • Monday: Attend to management issues
  • Tuesday: Work on products
  • Wednesday: Marketing, communications, and growth
  • Thursday: Developers and partnerships
  • Friday: Corporate culture

Steve Jobs was also productive due to his consistent plan. He held executive meetings on Monday, while he dedicated Wednesdays to advertising and marketing.

10. Respect Others’ Time

No one likes to be interrupted, be it via meetings or emails. Respect others’ time: no texts, email, or a call for unnecessary meetings. When you do this, others will be more likely to respect your time, helping you avoid unnecessary distractions.

Final Thoughts

Weekly to do lists can be a great tool to keep you accountable and on task. Use your to do lists to maximize your time by achieving a smaller set of important tasks and doing your best.

Practice prioritization by completing your most important tasks first and feel productive immediately. This will motivate you to push through the rest of the week.

More Tips on Creating Weekly To Do Lists

Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on July 2, 2020

7 Ways To Stop Being Lazy And Start Getting Things Done

7 Ways To Stop Being Lazy And Start Getting Things Done

“I’m going to take a lazy day today.”

Okay, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s called a day off, and it’s a magical thing.

But when every day is a “lazy day,” there’s a problem. Sometimes we just need a kick in the butt to get us up and moving, so we can handle our business effectively.

Often, laziness has a deeper and darker cause that we don’t want to think about, let alone acknowledge. Here are 7 ways to stop being lazy and become more productive.

1 Find Out the Root Cause

Are you burned out from working 27 hours a day, 9 days a week since before you can remember? This is a signal that you need a rest or a change.

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Human beings are not meant to work all the time. Our paleolithic ancestors worked, on average, about 20 hours a week. (Yeah, we members of modern society are getting hosed.) Maybe you feel overwhelmed, are afraid to fail at the task, or you just don’t want to do the task; these are discrete problems with separate solutions.

Finding out the root cause of your laziness can help you make the changes you need to make to be a more effective and energetic person.

2. Find Your Passion for the Work

You started doing what you do for a reason, but sometimes, even the tasks we love the most can become dreary and mundane. When this happens, remind yourself why you started doing it in the first place.

You must have had a passion for it at some point, or you wouldn’t be bothering with it. Remind yourself of the good points of the work, not just the parts that suck.

3. Break up Your Time

People work more efficiently when they have ample rest time. Working in short, focused bursts is far more effective than trying to slog through the task all at once. Not only will you be happier with the end product, but you’ll feel better and more energized after completing it.

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Learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

4. Look at Ways You Can Do the Task More Efficiently

When possible, work smarter instead of harder.

We’ve already talked about why working hard doesn’t work as well. If you can find a better way to do the task, you’re more likely to enjoy it because you’re not simply performing the task by rote, but rather, using your creativity and imagination to their best effect. This will make you feel better about the job and probably enjoy it more, too.

Try these 12 Ways to Work Smart.

5. Ask for Help or Support

Sometimes, we just need a little extra backup. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help from a more motivated coworker, friend, or family member. This is a useful way to get you up and moving, because they will motivate you to do the task.

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At the same time, you may be doing them a favor by motivating them to work harder. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!

Learn How to Ask for Help When You’re Afraid To Do So.

6. Think About Why You Don’t Want to Do the Task

This sounds like a rehash of number 1, but it’s really not.

Some jobs we don’t want to do because they’re just not fun. Mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, or getting under the car and replacing the alternator all have one thing in common. People don’t like doing these jobs because they take time and energy, they’re not pleasant, and we know that sooner or later, we’ll just be doing the same thing all over again.

However, instead of thinking about why you don’t want to do the task, think about the benefits. Your car will run better, the Homeowners’ Association won’t be leaving you a nasty gram for the sixth time this month, and your house will look nicer and feel more welcoming.

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By turning a negative into a positive, you’ll find your outlook about these tasks will be more positive too.

7. Force Yourself

Sometimes there’s just no getting around it. All the good advice and wishes in the world won’t make the job look any better. In these cases, you need to remember you’re an intelligent, mature member of Homo Sapiens, and get off your butt.

While it may not be fun at the time, you can look back on the task you did later and say, “Yeah. I did that.” You shouldn’t have to force yourself out of bed every morning (this is a warning sign of depression that you should NOT ignore), but every once in a while, we need to force ourselves to do something we just don’t want to do.

Believe it or not, you’ll be proud of yourself once the task is done.

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Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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