To understand the importance of To Do Lists we need to look at ways that poor
time management affects our day to day lives. When we’re lamenting that we don’t have enough time, what do we really mean? Let’s take a look at the complaints we have and then see how a properly organized list will help alleviate these problems.
“There is no way I will ever be able to get all this work done!” This is a huge problem for entrepreneurs as well as for people with a lot of career responsibilities. When our goals feel unachievable we tend to check out. How many times have you sat at your desk, a huge deadline looming, staring at the wall with your mind completely blank, or distracted yourself with Facebook, doodles, desk-naps, trips to the lunchroom, or the all-important task of fixing that stapler that’s been broken for three months? These are things you will succeed at, and are much more appealing than tackling a job in which you feel destined to fail. When the mountain seems too high, take a step back and get some perspective. Make a list. Break your huge workload down into smaller parts and then get the satisfaction of crossing those parts off the list as you make your way toward your goal.
“I forgot something important & now I’m in trouble.” In my business, forgetting an important deadline can lead to fines for my clients. This is the best way to either (a) lose clients or (b) lose money paying my clients’ fines in an effort to avoid (a)! Don’t let the fear of missing deadlines keep you up at night. Keep a To Do List so that all your tasks are listed in one place. Use your desktop calendar, or Excel, or scheduling software. Then, as the deadlines come and go, you can “complete” them or cross them off the calendar and move on.
“I don’t know where to start.” No two tasks are created equal. There are some things that you absolutely have to do right away, and other things that really aren’t that important. You need to structure your time intelligently and prioritize. It’s disheartening to spend the day toiling away at “semi-important” jobs and then realize an hour before quitting time that you forgot about the one thing that absolutely has to get done before you can go home. You can avoid this very common problem by making a To Do List using the “ABC METHOD.” Take the first five minutes of every day to make a To Do List and class it as follows:
- Items classed as “A” are urgent and need to be completed the same day.
- Items classed as “B” are important, but not urgent, and need to be completed by the end of the week.
- Items classed as “C” are neither urgent nor important, and needed to be completed within the month.
Using this method, you will be able to systematically organize each day. This will give you the confidence of knowing that you have completed the most important items on his list and that no important deadlines are being missed.