Learning how to prioritize your to do list, even when it is two pages long, does not have to be difficult. Before we get into how to prioritize your to do list, let’s make sure you have a to do list that will set you up for success. If you are struggling with completing your to do list, there is a really good chance that you are working off a master to do list instead of a daily one. You see, I think there is some confusion about a daily to do list and a master (I may not enough time ever) to do these things. They are two different lists.
The master to do list is the VERY long list of all the things you hope to accomplish. Your daily to do list is the VERY short list of the things you must get done during the day. Otherwise known as your priorities. When you confuse the lists, you can easily get overwhelmed. I’d also like to say that there might be a third list, this one is for all the recurring things that you want to get done on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
So if you feel like you have been struggling with how to prioritize your to do list, there is a good chance you really were not struggling at all – you were just working off the wrong list.
If you are curious, this is how I prioritize my to do list:
- First, I write down all the stuff I ever hope to do.
- Next, I group those tasks by type, things I want to organize, calls I need to make, day trips I want to take, things in the house I need to fix and so on.
- Then I add those small tasks to my daily calendar. No more than three a day.
- I do the things. This is the most important step.
- Then I repeat the process.
That’s how to prioritize your to do list. Of course things that have deadlines, like paying a bill, scheduling a dentist appointment, clearing out the filing cabinet to gather a bag of paperwork to take to the shred truck in town, and mailing a birthday card need to get done by a certain date.
Other tasks can get filled in around the tasks with a deadline. The most important item to prioritize on your to do list is something FUN! Without the fun tasks to look forward to you can get burnt out doing all the must do stuff. Plus, having the fun task on your list means you get credit for getting it done. Otherwise you might put off the fun stuff until your list is done, and hold onto your seat for this one, your to do list will n-e-v-e-r be done. Life comes with lots of tasks. The minute you cross one off, another one pops up. That’s the way it works. You’re not behind, there is no need to catch up, you just need to get the stuff done.
And one more hint.
If you are like me, I used to waste a ton of time re-writing my to do list. When I realized the item it took me to rewrite it, I could have gotten the stuff done. We could talk for days about how to number your list or how to assign a color coded chart to the tasks. But when it comes down to it, there is no way around it, whether you wrote the task in pink pen, blue pencil, brown crayon, or highlighted it yellow – it is still a task you need to do. So just do the stuff! Whether you need to play your favorite song to get you motivated or plan awkward like an ice cream cone when you are done, just do the thing.
Before you prioritize your to do list, make sure that you are the best person to do the task. Maybe delegating or hiring it out is a better idea. I can’t wait to hear what you do today, let’s check something off our to do list now. That way there will be fewer tasks to prioritize on your to do list.
If you are trying to get your decluttering done, then you won’t want to miss this free online class on Monday night, How to Get Your Decluttering Done. And before you go to get stuff done, please check out the newest episode of my mini TV show on YouTube, today I share my actual planner page (the one I use every day) for how to prioritize your to do list and get things done!