Do you keep a to-do list at work? Not everyone does. But, having a method like this can really help you to be efficient and productive.
Sometimes, you have to spend time to save time. When you invest a little effort in upping your to-do list game, you’ll almost certainly enjoy some positive rewards. But, there’s more to keeping a great to-do list than you may think.
Here are some tips for improving yours:
The typical to-do list structure gives you a way to list all of the tasks that you need to complete. However, it’s essential to set priorities, too. Think about which tasks you want to get done first, which are due today, etc. Then, place the most essential to-dos at the top of your list. Or, put a symbol like an exclamation mark in front of them. This will help call your attention to the most essential items quickly and easily.
A good to-do list doesn’t stand alone. You should have other organizational systems in place in addition to your to-do list, like a calendar and a weekly projects list. This will allow you to simplify your list, which can be really helpful. You should probably have no more than 10 items on your list at any given time. Move the rest of the tasks over to your calendar or project list. You can only tackle so much at once.
Remember that you keep a to-do list so that you don’t have to worry and stress about all of the things that you need to do. So, when your systems are in place, updated and running smoothly, relax a little. Use your list to help you focus on one priority at a time, and don’t think about everything else you need accomplish. Just concentrate on the task at hand. And remember, you’re super organized, so there’s nothing to worry about.
The way we work is changing. These days, you probably spend more time reading, writing, organizing and communicating via your devices than through old-fashioned pen and paper. So, it might make sense to consider using an app to organize your to-dos. There are tons of great online options like Todoist and Wunderlist that are available for Android and IOS. Check out a few to find the one that’s right for you.
Finally, there’s no benefit to having an awesome to-do list if you never utilize it. So, get into a routine. Check your to-do list every day at regular times. Perhaps you can look it over once in the morning, once around lunchtime, and once in the mid-afternoon. Whatever works best for you is fine, as long as you check your list often and regularly.
This article originally appeared in Payscale.