How To Organize Your Day
To Do Lists.
Do you have too much to do? Do you feel like you’re never going to finish everything on your list?
We’ve all been there, and while our To Do lists are unending, there’s a simple way to organize your day.
If you like good ole’ fashion pen and paper, write out your To Do List.
If prefer digital lists, then type your endless list into Apps like Cheddar, Momentum, Out of Milk, Colornote, Carrot, Google Tasks or whatever digital tracking program you prefer.
Now, look at your list. Read it through a few times. How do you feel?
If feelings like anxiety, sense of being overwhelmed or stress are coming up for you, I want you to take a good, honest look at your list and answer the following question:
What task(s) on your list MUST (without question) get done today?
All of them? Two of them? How many must get done today?
To Do lists are a great tool; these lists capture agenda items you don’t want to forget. On the contrary, having an extensive To Do list can make the list feel impossible to complete.
In my practice, an organizational tool I discuss with clients is creating a To Do list organized into columns by priority.
First column: The MUSTS.
These are items that have an immediate deadline.
Typically this is stuff you need to get done in the next 24 or 48 hours.
Write these high priority items down in this first column, and remember to stick to agenda items that have an immediate deadline.
Second column: I’d like to do this today.
Now, think of stuff that you would really like to get done.
This is stuff that would make you feel good, maybe even bring a smile to your face or lift a weight off your shoulders.
These are items you maybe think about often and would really prefer to complete, but simultaneously you know other tasks must take priority.
Nothing in this column has an immediate deadline, although a deadline might be approaching.
Third column: At some point I have to do this.
In the third column write down agenda items that have no deadline.
These are things that you would like to get done in the next 6 months or next year, but there’s nothing pressing about these items. There are no deadlines with these items.
For example, I’ve been wanting to talk with a financial adviser. This was a personal goal for about a year, and last week I knocked it off my list.
As you move through the items in the first column, pull items from the second and third column over. Always tackle the more pressing items first and, as time permits, continue to work through items on your To Do list to more efficiently organize your day.
I really just don’t want to do it.
If there is a task you really don’t want to do, creating small goals for that one big goal will help break it down and feel more approachable.
For example, if your goal is to buy health insurance but you feel overwhelmed each time you go to the Marketplace, make a goal to look at 3 policies a day over the course of one week.
If you need an additional incentive to look at 3 policies a day, its okay to choose rewards and reward yourself daily. Items like a fresh glass of lemon water, one TV show or reading an online article for pleasure all count as a healthy reward. Remember, though, you can have the reward AFTER you research 3 policies.
At the end of the week you will have knowledge about 21 policies, better positioning yourself to make an informed decision about health insurance.
Another helpful tip is this…
If you’re someone who likes feel accomplished, at the end of the day write down what you accomplished today.
Getting into this practice provides a visual list of what you knocked out in a given day, decreasing the sense of being overwhelmed, acknowledging what you accomplished and transitioning the brain to a place of positivity.
The next time you feel overwhelmed with tasks, use the three column approach to organize your day.
Each task can be accomplished; prioritization makes it happen.