How to Create Practical To-do Lists

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In Brief...

A to-do list is a useful tool when you have many tasks to complete and you feel stressed or overwhelmed as a result of it. To-do lists will help you feel organized, stay focused, and complete your work on time. The following steps will help you create a practical to-do list.

Instructions

  1. Keep it short and simple. People often make the mistake of creating unrealistic to-do lists. A good rule of thumb is to create short, to-the-point lists. The idea is to be able to look at your to-do list and feel confident that you have listed important items that need your immediate attention.
  2. Prioritize items on your list. At work and at home, we often deal with many tasks that require our attention. In order to ensure all important work is completed, give each item on your to-do list a high, medium, or low priority. This will help you focus your energy and time on the right tasks.
  3. Estimate time needed to complete tasks. Realistically estimate the time required to complete each task and note it on your list. Being cognizant of how much time it should take to complete a task will help keep you on track.
  4. Choose your own tool. Even in today's age of smartphones and tablets, some people still choose to use paper to create to-do lists. This is fine as long as they create and manage their to-do lists efficiently. Software accessible through smartphones, tablets, and laptops often provides additional capabilities such as timely reminders of tasks overdue and the ability to track progress over time.

Author: Janie Sullivan

Janie Sullivan, MBA, MAEd, has been teaching adult learners for over 20 years. She has taught online over 15 years, specializing in writing, communications, and small business applications. Janie directs the Center for Writing Excellence where she offers writing, editing, and formatting services for writers. She has been published in several newspapers and magazines as well as multiple online sites. She teaches communication, business strategy, leadership, and management courses. Janie has published a book "Develop and Deliver an Online Class." This is the third book she has written about writing and teaching online. She also has published a novel and an anthology of short stories.

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