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5 Practical Ways to Make Your To-Do List Work

5 Practical Ways to Make Your To-Do List Work

Your to-do list is the heart and mind of your daily work; it works like your personal assistant, or rather your own private Boss who tells what you should do and when you should do it. Without a written to-do list, you get stressed, you lose time, and you end up being unproductive and inefficient.

Therefore, to free up your brain, you have to make a clear and efficient to-do list. Think of it like your external brain, and start imagining how you can arrange it to make it as powerful as possible.

Find the right tool

The very first thing you have to do is to find the right tool to manage your to-do list. I highly recommend that you use an online task management application because they’re flexible, sharable, and they’ve already proven their efficiency in terms of productivity. Plus, most task management applications give you the opportunity to add content and due dates to your tasks, to delegate work, and to collaborate with your teammates.

Forget using post-its, whiteboards and paper to-do lists. You won’t be able to do anything efficiently with a to-do list written on a piece of paper.

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Organize and Prioritize

tasks list

    Once you’ve picked the right application for your to-do list, you need to organize your tasks. Your to-do list should be easy and practical to use.

    To get organized, you should first make sure that you only add the tasks that you’re actually going to work on in a reasonable amount of time. So if something you’re working on is complex, you should break it down into smaller tasks.

    Secondly, you need to prioritize your tasks. Always put the most important tasks at the top of your list. Prioritizing your tasks helps you focus on the most urgent/important things you have to get done.

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    Add content

    task content

      After you create a task, you’ll need to enrich it by adding content so that when you’re ready, you’ll have all the resources you need to start working. Think of it like cooking: you first need to gather and prepare all the ingredients before you turn the oven on, right?!

      A task’s content can be anything you need, like a document, a note, an email, a link, a description or a list of subtasks. It’s all about adding everything you need to complete your work.

      Don’t forget that your to-do list is your personal assistant, and that the role of a personal assistant is to give you a maximum amount of information so you can do whatever it is you have to do easily.

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      Besides, adding content to your to-do list helps you focus on your work so your workflow can be easily managed.

      Keep it short

      If you have too many tasks on your to-do list, you might feel overwhelmed before you even get started. To be efficient, your to-do list needs to be doable. In other words, it needs to be short so that you’re subconsciously motivated to start working.

      If your to-do list is too long, move your tasks to another day or week. The objective is to have a clear picture on what you have to do, and can do, today. Tomorrow is another day, and you don’t need to have those tasks in today’s field of vision.

      Some people say to keep your to-do list under 20 tasks, and others say no more than 3. It really isn’t a matter of numbers, but rather the nature of your tasks. Some things take a few minutes to get done, others hours. You need to feel comfortable with the size of your to-do list and be able to tell yourself, “I can definitely get all of this done today”.

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      Make it collaborative

      The more we are, the merrier we will be, right? The same theory works with your to-do list.  If you keep it to yourself, you’ll have a harder time accomplishing your tasks.

      Therefore, when you’re choosing a task management app, you should make sure it’s collaborative. That way, you’ll be able to share ideas and get in sync with your coworkers. The idea is to get your teammates involved in your tasks and accomplish your work faster. If every member of your team is on the same page and using the the same information, your to-do list will work almost all by itself.

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      Published on April 25, 2019

      How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

      How Creativity Can Help You Get Ahead in Life

      Have you ever felt limited in your abilities to do something you really wanted to pursue? Maybe it was an ambition you had, or an idea to start something. Perhaps it was an opportunity that came your way, but you weren’t able to take it because something held you back.

      Often, we’re unable to progress towards our goals because such obstacles stand in the way. We let our limitations stop or overshadow our abilities to see through to a goal.

      Yet, there’s one thing that we rarely think of to use when trying to overcome limitations.

      Creativity.

      What is Creativity?

      When I say creativity, I’m not talking about an innate talent. Creativity is a much needed, but often neglected, skill that everyone has! It’s a skill with huge leverage that allows you to generate enormous amounts of value from relatively little input.

      Creativity at its heart, is being able to see things in a way that others cannot. It’s a skill that helps you find new perspectives to create new possibilities and solutions to different problems.

      Everything, including brilliant inventions, cannot come from nothing; it all derives from some sort of inspiration. Creativity works by connecting things together in order to derive new meaning or value.

      From this perspective, you can find creativity at play in many areas.

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      For example, Mark Zuckerburg rapidly became successful by taking the previously existing concept of social media, and combining it with an incredibly simple interface that appealed to a much wider audience. Uber and Lyft combined the idea of a traditional taxi service with an incredibly efficient smartphone app.

      Both of these examples connect different ideas, find common ground amongst the differences, and create a completely new idea out of them.

      That’s creativity in a nutshell, and anyone can improve theirs.

      Limitations are Actually Opportunities

      The advantage of using creativity, is to help you see limitations as opportunities. Take any limitation that you may find yourself facing, is there a way to look at things differently?

      Let me illustrate with an example.

      On the day of my son’s 5th birthday, my wife and I arranged a party for him at a children’s adventure park. His friends and family were all invited, and the plan was to have a long, fun day out to celebrate.

      However, the day didn’t go exactly as planned…

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      At Lifehack, we pride ourselves on a healthy work-life balance, so I wasn’t concerned about taking the day off to celebrate. But, on the big day, a call came through to my phone.

      It was a manager from Lifehack. He excitedly told me that a group of investors were quite interested in our business proposition, and were wanting to meet later that day.

      This was great news! A potential investment could be coming our way. But, I was already miles away from home and the office. Plus, it was my son’s birthday…

      I asked if I could call him back once we got settled into the park.

      To be honest, I was pretty certain I was not going to be able to make it. Asking to reschedule would be a risky request, but there was no way that I was going to miss my son’s party.

      My son could sense something was off, and he asked me what was wrong. So I let him know that I just received a call about a meeting today, but also told him not to worry as today was about celebrating his birthday.

      But like all kids, he continued questioning me…

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      “But daddy, is it important?”

      “No, of course not,” I bluffed.

      Then, with childlike intuition and creativity, he asked: “Can’t you just meet with them at the park?”

      And, then it struck me! This was the idea that I was missing.

      Even though my son didn’t quite understand that it would not be possible for the investors to meet me at the park, it made sense for me to simply do a video call!

      I could miss 25 minutes of the party to do a quick call while the rest of the party walked through the aquarium. And, in the end, that was exactly what happened.

      I called back my teammate and asked him to briefly explain to the investors why I couldn’t be there in person to meet, but would be happy to join via video. I took the call, and was able to spend the rest of the day at the park with my son.

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      Not only did my son enjoy his birthday, his simple idea led to a successful investment meeting that allowed us to get funding for a new project.

      This is where I was able to turn a limitation into an opportunity that enabled me to reach my success.

      Creativity is One Key to Success

      When you use your creative ability to turn your limitations and setbacks into opportunities, you’ll find doors opening for you in areas you may have never imagined.

      Remember, your attitude is also important when it comes to achieving a goal, and tackling a setback or problem. That’s because a positive attitude transforms not just your mental state, but your physical and emotional well being. It is the key to lasting total transformation.

      Check out this article to learn more about how you can tune your attitude towards positivity.

      So, the next time you’re feeling limited by your abilities, setbacks or challenges, don’t give up. Really look at the situation, and see how you can leverage on your creativity to find an alternative solution.

      Featured photo credit: Photo by William Iven on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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