Do you often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do? Do you face a constant bombardment of looming deadlines? Do you sometimes just forget to do something important, so that people have to chase you to get work done?

All of these problems can be solved by constructing a simple “To-Do List”. To-Do Lists are prioritized records of the tasks that you need to carry out, ranging from most important to least important. Keeping effective To-Do lists ensures efficiency and organization, and is often the first personal time management breakthrough for people as they begin to make a success of their careers.

While To-Do Lists are very simple, they are also extremely powerful, both as a method of organizing yourself and as a way of reducing stress. Often problems may seem overwhelming, or you may have a seemingly huge number of demands on your time. This can leave you feeling out of control, and overburdened with work.

Preparing a To-Do List

Start by writing down the tasks that face you, and if they are large, break them down into their component elements. If these still seem large, break them down again.

Once you have done this, run through the tasks allocating priorities, from urgent to trivial. If too many tasks have a high priority, run through the list again and demote the less important ones. Try to limit your jobs to a maximum of 10, any bigger, and it will appear daunting.

Using Your To-Do List

Everyone will use their To-Do lists differently, depending on their line of work; if you are in a sales-type role, a good way of motivating yourself is to keep your list relatively short and aim to complete it every day.

In an operational role, or if tasks are large or dependent on other people, then it may be better to keep one large list and ‘chip away’ at it.

It may be that you carry unimportant jobs from one To-Do List to the next. You may not be able to complete some very low priority jobs for several months. Only worry about this if you need to – if you are running up against a deadline for them, raise their priority.

If you use successful To-Do Lists, you will ensure that:

You remember to carry out all necessary tasks;

You tackle the most important jobs first and do not waste time on trivial tasks.

You do not get stressed by many unimportant jobs.

In conclusion, prioritized To-Do lists are fundamentally important to efficient work and time management.

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