“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey
Being an Entrepreneur is a roller coaster ride. With coming up with product ideas, developing new plans, and battling with deadlines, a developer’s job is anything but easy-going. Though we all have mastered the art of multi-tasking, too much of pressure can be grueling and we must put off some load so that our productivity doesn’t get hampered.
There are probably too many things for you to do as an Entrepreneur. And while your mind is busy doing these tasks you also need to prioritize them and make a schedule accordingly.
Gone are the days when to-do lists used to comprise of 3-5 tasks including getting the milk. Today, we need a much more efficient way to make these lists so that we can get the important stuff and also, not forget getting the milk. Following are some of the mistakes that make our to-do lists redundant leaving our schedule completely scattered.
Let’s see these mistakes and find out what could be done instead.
1. Copying Someone Else’s List: A Big No, No!
This is the most obvious mistake to avoid but not as stupid as it sounds. We tend to criticize ourselves more than we criticize others and hence, might end up re-enforcing that other people are better at things like planning and making a to-do list.
But everyone is a unique being.
From the preferred work schedule to your most productive hours, we differ from each other to a great extent. Copying someone else’s idea of making a to-do list won’t reap you any results. Instead, try to focus on your style of working and create your original list.
2. Including Everything
The purpose of the to-do list is not to make a list of everything that you have to and want to do but to put down the tasks of highest priorities and complete them in the given schedule. It might feel productive to put everything on your list but the longer your list gets the less work/tasks are completed.
Having long unending lists might also leave you feeling overwhelmed making you procrastinate work instead of getting it done.
Keep the lists precise and to the point, use apps that present a list in an uncluttered way and which give you the option to tick the tasks complete so that you feel assured about being on track and getting the work done.
Agile tools like Trello, Jira & Basecamp are good ways to keep your priorities in check and make sure they are executed. On time.
3. Writing In The Morning
Making the lists in the morning will become a new task for you every day, consuming the most productive time of the day.
It is always better to make the lists the previous night because not only will it save the grunt of making the list every morning but will also help you prioritize efficiently by reflecting on your entire day and setting the goals for the next day. You might forget a thing or two if you sleep on it and try to recollect it the next morning.
Hence, try to jot down your tasks for the next day at night and sleep peacefully with an assurance that you have everything under control.
4. Making A Bucket List
A to-do list is often an unending, myriad set of activities that comprise of all the aspirational activities you want to do.
But, to-do lists are anything but any sort of bucket lists. For instance, you might be wanting to start reading a new book or start taking Jazz classes but such aspirational goals do not belong in the to-do lists. Apart from making the list long it also makes you feel that you haven’t accomplished enough because of all the incomplete tasks.
Furthermore, lists that include tasks with low priority and aspirational activities, will divert your attention from the important tasks to other activities on the list. It is always advisable to keep only high-priority tasks on your to-do lists.
5. Not Linking The List With Calendar Or Reminder Apps
A nudge is important for us to get started with something. Whether it’s a regular simple activity or something new, a nudge or a reminder to start with it, re-enforces that the task needs to be done.
Also, linking your task manager app with your calendar will block your time for the day which you could share with your team, letting them know that you will be busy for that particular time of the day.
Set gentle reminders, not 10-minute several alarms so that it doesn’t end up being torturous for you making you feel demotivated and pressurized.
With our hectic lifestyle and so much to achieve in so little time, prioritizing work and other responsibilities have become the need of the hour for everyone. The game is even worse if you are an Entrepreneur, who spend their hours' planning, managing finances, attending/organizing meetings, and sipping coffee, a lot of coffee. To-do lists can be a great way to do so and will help you to stay focused throughout the day.
Pro Tips To Make Your To-do List Highly Productive
1. Focus on your style of working and create your original list. No Copying ;)
2. Put down the tasks of highest priorities and complete them in the given schedule. Avoid long unending lists.
3. Jot down your tasks for the next day at night and sleep peacefully with an assurance that you have everything under control.
4. Link your to-do list with calendar or reminder apps.
5. Plan for short, quick terms. A two-week plan works better than a two month one.
A flawed to-do list will be unproductive, hence, taking into consideration the above points and incorporating your own insights and learning can help you prepare a good to-do list.