Making a To-Do list is the best way to keep track of things that need to get accomplished. The problem with most To-Do lists is that they are not structured in a way that is conducive to actually accomplishing the tasks on the list. Here are some tips on how to structure the scientifically best To-Do list, the one that will make sure your goals are accomplished on point, on time, and in the right way.
1. Handwrite Your List
Because handwriting involves both visual and motor functions, your brain will hold on to that information longer. When you handwrite your list, you are more likely to remember the tasks you need to accomplish.
2. Buy a Nice and Portable Notepad
Blank paper, ruled or grid, there are a number of To-Do list worthy options out there. A pocket or purse notebook is great on the go, and some doodle pads (the ones artists use) can conveniently fit in a tablet folio, laptop case, or laptop pocket in a backpack. With your list at hand, there are fewer excuses for procrastination, even without WiFi access.
3. Stay Away From Red
Color coding the to-do list is another great way to categorize tasks, but stay away from red. Studies show exposure to the color red has a negative impact on performance and can make some tasks seem more intimidating.
4. Divide It Into Quadrants
Use the Eisenhower matrix for decision making to determine which quadrant each task goes into, and don’t neglect the ever-important NOT To-Do quadrant.
5. Estimate How Much Time It Will Take
This step will both make you accountable and give you future data about how long certain tasks take to accomplish.
6. Take Pleasure In Crossing Off Items
Make a ritual out of crossing things off your list, and enjoy the catharsis.
7. Jumpstart Your Brain
The To-Do list exists to help you accomplish tasks, but it’s not a throw-away exercise. Make sure your brain is primed before you write down the day’s items; a clear head will make a much better and more efficient list with well-prioritized tasks. Consider priming your brain or doing some thought exercises to get the blood flowing before putting pen to paper.
The thing to remember is that practice not only makes perfect, but it also turns making to-do lists into a habit. A well-structured to do list will undoubtedly raise your productivity and efficiency and may even free-up some time in your day.