Effective Use of Your To Do List

Author: Gary P. Dreier, P.E. | February 1, 2021

Everyone uses a To Do List in some form or fashion. It might not necessarily be written down, but none the less it is being used. A task is first identified. After the task is complete, it is checked off. This concept is simple enough. However, some people might not use their To Do List in an ineffective manner.

Many people incorrectly associate self-worth with checking things off their To Do List. If I am able to complete a lot of things in one day, it must mean I’ve done a good job; therefore, I deserve recognition. Right? We all want validation. However, this may be a problem if you focus your time only on low impact and easy to complete tasks. You may inadvertently fall into a trap and create an excuse as to why important high impact tasks cannot or should not be done. After hearing the excuses many times, you may have even convinced yourself and others to believe in the excuses. Stop the excuse cycle. Don’t avoid putting challenging tasks on your To Do List.

The secret to a successful To Do List is to write down all your tasks and prioritize the tasks with the highest impact task first. If you could only do one thing today to move Middough forward, what would that thing be?

Make this the #1 item on your To Do List. Be strategic about your energy. Choose that one task that MUST get done and will deliver the most impact. You can always go back to executing other low-priority or operational tasks once you are done with the day’s #1 task. Another strategy to consider is working on tasks together with your teammates if they are too complicated or time consuming.

If you think you don’t need a To Do List, then think again. We live in a busy, complicated world and often have more tasks to do than time to do them. Making a comprehensive To Do List and taking on challenging tasks will make an impact. Be creative and use your time wisely through effective use of your To Do List, it is a great simple tool to provide focus, improve productivity and provide a sense of accomplishment.