Where is your to-do list for the day? As I type this post, I can take a quick glance at mine on my favourite note-taking app, Evernote. On the go, it’s available on my mobile phone. It automatically syncs across my devices so I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. I go to great lengths to make sure I have my to-do list with me wherever I am. That’s because out of all the productivity tools in my box, the to-do list has proven a life saver.
You might forget a task but your list does not
Have you ever gotten home at the end of a tiring day, ready to relax and unwind only to remember that you forgot to buy milk or indomie on your way back? Chances are you did not write that task down. If you had captured it in your to-do list, you’d have seen it during the day as you got other tasks done. It would have been there as a reminder until you got to enjoy the satisfaction of crossing it off your list.
Bored? Check your list
Whenever you find yourself with some unexpected downtime and would like to work on something else, all you have to do is check your to-do list to find a task you can start earlier.
It gives you focus
There are times in the day when you are likely to feel overwhelmed. If you are a knowledge worker, this often happens when you are receiving information from so many different sources. Think an email from your coworker asking for the latest data you have, a phone call from a stakeholder asking when you can meet and a text message from your Supervisor reminding you that report is due in three hours. At times such as these, it’s easy to get paralysis from too many choices. Having a to-do list nearby will give you focus by reminding you what you had set as your priority for the day. Once your priorities are clear, you are less likely to allow others dictate what you do for the rest of the day.
No matter what you do or how busy you are, always take time out of your schedule to make a to-do list and refer to it throughout the day. It will save you time, give you focus and ensure you don’t forget something important. On top of all those benefits, there is also the feel-good high you get whenever you cross a task off your list. If you have been using your list, you know what I mean.