3 Steps To Make The Perfect To-Do List

At one point or another you’ve likely created a to-do list.  You may have done this the night before or the morning of the day you wanted to complete a set of objectives.  What you might not realize is there’s a clearer way to complete your objectives in a more efficient manner.  For the sake of an example, let’s take a look at my fascinating life.  I have created a to-do list for today’s tasks, which I’ve recreated below.

My To-Do List

  • Clean kitchen
  • Watch South Park
  • Search for jobs

I know, I know, people tell me I’m living the American dream.  Once I’ve completed an objective, I check it off and move on to the next task.  This is how I used to go about making to-do lists, but in recent months I’ve implemented three specific steps when creating a to-do list.  They are to prioritize, specify, and time-block.

1. Prioritize

When creating a to-do list, it can be easy to lose sight of what’s most important.  Without thinking too hard I might put equal emphasis on catching up on South Park as searching for jobs.  This is where prioritization is key.  You need to identify which tasks must be completed and which tasks can wait.  Let’s go back to my awesome life.  Now that I understand the importance of prioritization, I number my tasks in order of importance.

  1. Clean kitchen
  2. Search for jobs
  3. Watch South Park

2. Specify

Based off my new and improved to-do list, I’ve prioritized cleaning the kitchen as most important (sorry South Park).  But what happens when I actually begin cleaning the kitchen.  Do I only clear the table?  Do I put all the dishes in the dishwasher?  The lack of clarity lies in the fact that this is a task, when in fact it should be a goal.  A goal is something that is measurable and achievable.  You know it’s a goal when there is a clear finish-line.  The more specific the better.  Take a look how I’ve transformed my list from tasks to goals.

  1. Load all dishes and start washer
  2. Identify five new job leads
  3. Watch two episodes of South Park

3. Assign Time Slot (aka Time Block)

After prioritizing and making each task goal-specific, it’s now time to assign each task to a specific time of day.  When most people make up their mind what they’re going to do, they don’t necessarily decide when they’re going to do it.  This can lead to one of the deadliest words in the english language… procrastination.  Since procrastination sucks, I’ve decided to assign each task a specific time slot.  By assigning a specific time slot, you’re less likely to put something off for “sometime later”.  Below is the final version of my to-do list.

  1. Load all dishes and start washer (12:30pm-12:45pm)
  2. Identify five new job leads (12:45pm-2:00pm)
  3. Watch two episodes of South Park (2:00pm-2:45pm)

There you have it!  Compare this to-do list to the original and recognize how much clearer the new version is.  In a nutshell, the more specific you are with your to-do list, the greater likelihood you’ll accomplish what you set out to do.  So as you venture off with your next to-do list, be sure to prioritize, specify, and time-block your tasks.

Enjoy this post? Subscribe and get notified when new content is released.

Success! You're on the list.

3 thoughts on “3 Steps To Make The Perfect To-Do List

  1. Devin , you write so well , it’s a pleasure to read . Yes , we have to clean up our minds by training it to be specific . Clarity comes for looking at things objectively . Also , I’d like add , that it is important to check attitudes before we do anything at all !

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s