Time Management: 5 Essential List Building Techniques

While we talked in the previous article about the simple yet marvelous technique of making lists in order to keep things organized.

Now it is now time to get even better, by learning how to make killer to-do lists. These 5 list building techniques will help you even further with proper time management.

5 Great to-do list building techniques

Technique #1: Jot down the essentials

It is very important that your to do list is a tool for better time management and not a source of losing motivation.

A to-do list should mainly contain the essentials; if these become too many, you may start to feel like you are in front of a pile of obligations of which you will never see the end of.

Here is an idea. Just write down a maximum of 20 things on your to do list. In case you feel like it is really necessary to add something new, try completing one that is already there.

This way, you will feel even more motivated to keep up with your list.

Technique #2: Don’t clutter your list with your usual activities

A to do list is not the place for listing all the activities you need to perform throughout a day.

For instance, there is no point to clutter your list with activities such as going to lunch or taking the kids to school.

The role of your to do list is to remind you of those things that need a bit more time and attention from your part, such as scheduling a visit to the dentist, or organizing a picnic for the next weekend.

Technique #3: Start with the hardest thing on your list

When you are taking a look at your to do list, you may feel tempted to just go through the easier tasks first.

While it is common knowledge that a lot of people do exactly that, the not so great part is that this way, you are almost always guaranteed to lose track of doing the more time consuming tasks on your list.

The best advice is to start with that thing that you consider the hardest. Do not just go to dip your toes in the water, so to speak; dive in and start working towards completing this task.

The more time and effort you put into a certain task, the easier and more manageable it becomes.

Here is another idea to help you in this endeavor.

If it is indeed a time consuming task and it cannot be humanly achieved in just one day, without practically sacrificing everything else, be content when you reach at least half of it. This will leave you enough time for the rest of things on your list.

Technique #4: Allow some flexibility in your schedule

A list with to do tasks should not become a source of stress.

This is why we strongly advise you to allow some flexibility in your daily schedule. Some days may not be the greatest for performing certain difficult tasks, so you may just have to admit it, and postpone it for the next time.

The entire point of being flexible is to reduce stress. Again, however, we need to remind you that flexibility does not mean that you should simply overlook harder tasks, and let them pile up to the point that they become a source of stress again.

Technique #5: Know thyself

The ancient Greek aphorism is of great help when it comes to working around a schedule.

This simply means that you should not overlook who you really are when you have to tackle different tasks, especially those with a highest degree of difficulty.

For instance, there are people who are early risers and like doing everything during the first half of their day.

On the other hand, there are those who take a while to kick into gear and they can become stressed if they try forcing themselves.

Here is another pro tip for organizing your time in an efficient manner.

During those times of the day when you feel that you have little energy, schedule the activities that you know that are taking less focus and less time.

In case your schedule cannot suffer many adjustments, what you can do is organizing breaks, so that more difficult tasks do not end up taking a serious toll on your stress levels.

This way, you will surely not experience the burn and fatigue associated with harder tasks.