Eight simple steps to an effective to-do list

  1. Start with a mind dump – list everything which is on your mind. This is NOT your to-do list. This is an exorcism – a place to get it all out so that you can create a useful list.

  2. Identify the tasks which need to be done on a given day - three to five items is probably about right - but one way or another only list what you can get done in a day. The alternative is just depressing and doesn’t change the outcome.

  3. Make an achievable list, carry forward the things than can wait, and start again then following day.

  4. Don’t confuse quality with quantity.

  5. Identify the most important tasks, but then plan to start with a couple of easy ones to ease into the day.

  6. Be specific – make the tasks manageable. “Sort out my document filing system” (well MINE anyway) is a truly nauseating suggestion. But “create folders and file documents from January-March 2018” is a much more reasonable proposal.

  7. Write your list the night before (having planned your week the previous Friday). It will give you the perspective to prioritise and you’ll start the day with your shoulders squared.

  8. Check things off when they’re done. It really helps.

Sara Allen