Master the to-do lists before the to-do list gets the upper hand

Master the to-do lists before the to-do list gets the upper hand

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Like the majority of the Office Managers, you use the to-do list for your daily work? Very well. Whether it’s through post-its, tools like Trello or even a simple Word document, which is open all the time (after all, why not), the to-do list helps us maintain a written list of actions one needs to handle. Practical so that one doesn’t forget anything. But at times, the to-do lists make us anxious: we have so many tasks to carry out and we don’t know where to begin. One senses a strong feeling of discouragement. To avoid this, some rules should be respected to handle one’s to-do lists and master them, before they begin to get the upper hand.

Avoid writing really small tasks on your to-do list

It is useless to write all the tiny tasks that you have to handle on your to-do list. If you do so, you keep expanding your list for no reason and this makes it all the more discouraging: so many things to do and one doesn’t know where to begin. Plus let’s admit it, one spends updating the to-do list at times rather than actually taking action, which helps scratch off tasks. This is commonly known as blowing hot air. Maintain a balance and ask yourself if it’s really worth adding these thousandth tiny task, to your to-do list, which will only require 30 seconds like reprocessing the invoice of this angry supplier. If you can, the best is to carry out the task directly, because 30 seconds is exactly what you need to add this task to your list. 

Everything which is already in your agenda like attending a reunion for example is by definition, already in your agenda. No need adding it again to your to-do list and how about writing it on your forehead with a marker, while you’re at it? If you’re scared to forget about it, set the reminders of your agenda, this is a tried-and-tested formula. 

However, be careful as mini tasks can be really important and you don’t necessarily have the possibility to carry them out immediately. Like responding to the mail of your big boss of a branch in France. You can make an exception and add it to your to-do list but carry out the task quickly so that it doesn’t keep lying around on your list and then catches dust. 

Share your to-do list

At times, the tasks of your to-do list don’t only depend on you. But in a more global project, other people can be in charge of realizing the tasks. Use a management tool of the collaborative to-do list like Trello, to get a centralized view of the to-do list. If a task depends on one or several other people, designate the heads of the tasks, go get a coffee and round off the task. 

However, if via the to-do collaborative tool, other people have the possibility of giving you tasks, make sure they read this list beforehand. 

Set deadlines for tasks.

The rule: each task has a deadline for its realization. This is the best way to avoid seeing the task in your to-do list, for ages. If your to-list tool allows this, add reminders which help you see when the deadline of a given task is coming along. These deadlines will also help you prioritize your work, and handle the most urgent first (or not). At times, time pressure is good. 

Organize the order of your tasks in the to-do list

In your to-do list, the task right on the top isn’t necessarily the most important one, nor the one you need to do first. You add new tasks as they come along and everything piles up, haphazardly. But the brain likes logical things. This way, it’s possible for you to organize your tasks from top to the bottom, or even create groups, you can significantly improve the readability of your to-do list. 

The aim is not to look for a task for hours, on which you need to work most urgently. A to-do list is distressing enough as it is, to spend several minutes to find what you’ve been looking for. A clear and organized to-do list is more soothing, a little like when you work on a tidy desk rather than a messy one. 

Last but not least, don’t forget that the to-do list should help you save time to realize your tasks efficiently and not consume more time than it makes you save. Don’t forget the rules listed in this article, and everything should move forward smoothly. 

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