Do you wake up ready to take on your day, only to end up feeling unaccomplished by the end of it? Yup, I get it. It is so easy to get knocked off track by distractions, unimportant mundane tasks, and our good ol’ friend, procrastination.
I am usually up to a whole lot every single day and used to end up losing a lot of sleep just trying to get things done. Over time, I’ve learned a thing or two on how to be productive. It starts with my To-Do List sometimes the night before and others, the morning of my work day. First of all, let us all agree that a To-Do List makes you more productive in general. With technology, of course, there is an app for that like Monday.com, Asana, Trello, Todoist. For me, paper works just fine for now.
In itself, having a To-Do List is not exactly new ground-breaking technology. We have all been there, done that. But I like to believe my list is a bit different in a few ways especially with my C.A.S.E. system:
Categorize Your Tasks
Instead of a single giant scroll of a list, I create categories that reflect the key parts of my deliverables. For me, there is “9 to 5”, “Home”, “Freelance” and “Social Media”. This has helped me a lot with compartmentalizing tasks and focusing so that when I’m at work…that’s the list I focus on. So think through your categories - What else do you need? Jobs you are applying for? Hobbies and activities?
Do you know what waits for no one? Time. It just flies without a thought about how any of us feels, which can be pretty annoying. There’s nothing like missing a deadline because you didn’t realize it was coming up. A great way to stay ahead of time, literally, is to make sure my tasks come with deadlines. So when a task has a deadline, ADD IT. The timeline can be as broad as today or as specific as 4:15 pm.
Star Urgent Tasks
There’s nothing like having a list and STILL not knowing where to start. That’s where this step comes in. I always star (put an asterisk on) urgent tasks to make it easy to prioritize. This way I get the really important things done right away. For ideas on how to label tasks as urgent, you can check out Habit 3 – First Things First of Steven R. Covey’s book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
If you’ve never made a To-Do list, trust me when I say that there is absolutely nothing as rewarding as crossing things off. According to psychology, dopamine, our “feel-good hormone” is released when you cross things off a To-Do List. An even better feeling is when you are able to cross everything off. Understanding this, it is no surprise that I always eager to cross things off my list as soon as I complete them. The other piece of the edit puzzle is to add things as soon as they come to mind. Trying to “remember” later just never seems to work.
So there you have it, a system that might actually work for you. Try it out and let me know how it goes.
Happy To-Do Listing friends!