When is the last time you said to someone, “I am sorry, I am busy” or “I have a lot on my plate right now” or “I don’t have any time to spare”? And don’t we still often wonder how much work have we really done in our life, this year, this month, or to keep it very simple, today?
The answer my friend lies in organizing and prioritizing well.
Before I even talk about organizing your daily to-do list better, let me tell you why we even need to talk about our DAILY work schedule.
First and foremost, we should be clear about one thing — we cannot make an elaborate plan for our entire life in one day. It does not work that way. Life throws us twists and turns that we are not aware of earlier. But we will have to face them, brave and bold. Come hell or high water, we will have to survive. So, instead of sitting down and planning in our heads how 30 years down the lane will look like for us, it is better to plan our immediate work schedules and just work. We will be building our present and our future simultaneously in this manner. On that note, let us talk about our daily to-do list.
How to organize your daily to-do lists
- Keep a journal: I cannot stress the importance of keeping a journal enough. It is best to write down your tasks to be done the next day on a journal the night before. When you wake up the next morning you know exactly what needs to be done that day and thus, you are prepared for it. You can buy planners like this one to organize your day better or you can also use daily planning apps for the same.
- Eat the frog first: Decide your most productive time of the day. Plan your schedule in such a manner that you assign the toughest task to be done during your most productive time. For me, the first half of the day is when I am the most productive. So, I assign those tasks which require a lot of reading and thinking to be done during this time of the day.
- Only write down realistic goals: It is very tempting to be over-ambitious and fill our hearts out on our journal but we will have to be realistic. If we write down more goals for the day than we can chew, we end up losing confidence in ourselves. You are your best judge. Only write down those daily goals which you think you will be more likely to finish that day.
- Write down your daily goals specifically: Instead of writing say, “study”, be more specific and write down maybe “study 2 research papers on Kant”. Our visual memory works wonders. Once we have written down specifically what needs to be done that day, we will work more effectively towards fulfilling them.
- Assign an estimate of the time that would be required for each task: Although we are not sure how much time we will actually take to finish a task at hand, if we still assign a time estimate for each task beforehand, we end up at least trying to finish that task within that time frame. That way we do not lose our time mindlessly.
- Take breaks in between: Psychologists say that a human mind can concentrate on one thing for 45 minutes at an average in one stretch. If we work for at least 45 minutes in one stretch, we should take a break for 5-10 minutes in between. We may listen to some instrumental music or stretch our bodies to feel relaxed. Then the next session of work can be done with equal enthusiasm and energy. After 2-3 hours of such sessions, we may also go for walks in nature or sip on our favourite beverage with our friends. However, such breaks shouldn’t extend for more than half an hour. Otherwise, we lose interest in our work entirely.
- Instrumental music helps: To avoid distractions and increase our concentration, we can listen to some instrumental music. Music with binaural beats helps a lot. It does not obstruct the workflow. Rather, it helps us focus more on our work. You will find several such playlists online. This channel is my personal favourite.
- Wrapping up the day: By the end of the day, when we are done with our work, tick off those tasks on your journal that you have accomplished that day. You get a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction when you do that. Remember that you are only human. And you are still trying. So do not be upset if you cannot accomplish all the tasks written down. Add these undone tasks to the next day’s list. Try to fulfill as many tasks as possible everyday. You will see that in a few days, you will be able to tick off more and more tasks from your to-do list. This way, you can monitor your progress.
I want to conclude by reminding you that I have only offered you a kind of daily to-do list. You can and in fact, you should personalize them according to your own efficiencies and abilities.
If you benefit from my daily to-do list, let me know in the comment section below. Share with me your daily organizing tips if you have any. I would love to hear from you.