We all had been in a situation where we were sitting at our desks and staring at a long to-do list. We thought of wrapping it around the entire earth – twice. It is so stressful and degrades our productivity slowly. Ever thought about it?
When we understand that our productivity is far below what was expected of us, we often feel like hiding under our desks until the pesky tasks dissolve into thin air.
Unfortunately, this idea isn’t gonna work for me. So I need to find another way to deal with the assignment’s list. I have had a lot of stories with tips and tricks to improve my productivity, but I gradually understood that all of those productivity hacks only distract me and slow me down.
Rather, I kept my productivity hack to a simple, basic, and intuitive trick. So, what I did is look at my overwhelming long to-do list, I just ask one quick question to pare down the tasks and channel my focus:
Do I need to finish it today?
Yes, it is a straight and obvious question, but it is a very important thing to know that most individuals skip when making their list. Let me explain why this can be so effective.
Why will this question boost your productivity?
All of us create a to-do list with the best intentions. It’s a clear-cut beginner of the things that you plan to finish that day. But, then something happens. And that “something”, I call real life.
We have things that pop up the entire day. We need to jot down somewhere before they jump off our brains. And in a matter of few tasks, there will be a messy disaster. All easy as well as pressing things got mixed up and in the end, nothing goes as planned.
I’m a strong believer that our to-do list functions like a smart and clean workspace does with our productivity. So, check again with the long list and ask yourself for every task listed there, “Does this task need to be done today?” Even if the answer is a small no, it goes off the list.
This will make a new to-do list that clears the noise and prioritizes the tasks while the real purpose will always be served. The new to-do list will help you keep your focus, rather than make you feel stressed, frazzled, and buried.
What will you do with everything else?
The idea is good, but what will you do with everything else that we dropped off the new list? We still need to finish those things, right?!
The answer is simple and rather painful as well – jot them down on a different list.
On a personal note, I make my daily to-do’s in my notebook. I write all the tasks for the day on one page. Then I decide on the important tasks that need my attention first and add the rest to the other page. This way I can differentiate my important tidbits while keeping the list small.
The most essential thing to remember is to save your valuable task list for only your day’s chores and tasks, and avoid the impulse to clog it up with anything else that comes up. That way, you may blast through your work with laser-like focus and determination.
Additional read: How to stand out in freelancing?
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