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How to Prioritise Your To Do List (and STOP Wasting Time!)

Those who know me know that I love to plan. Scrap that, I’m obsessed with planning! I’m often asked how to prioritise your To Do list to be the most productive and efficient and I’m sharing my top tips here.

How do you manage your time and prioritise tasks?

Do you have a To Do list that’s not really working?

If you want to learn how to manage workload effectively with conflicting deadlines and priorities, my tips will help.

In my planner, I write daily To Do lists that incorporate my family, blogging, work and personal commitments. I list everything that needs to be done, right down to the smallest of tasks.

For me, planning is all about staying calm and in control of everything that needs doing. I’m a busy, working mum of two small children so it’s often a challenge.

So that list doesn’t become overwhelming, I’ve found ways to work out how to priorities tasks.

Watch this video and then read the tips below!

5 Productive To Do List Tips

1.  List every task

As mentioned earlier, I write down every single task that I need to complete. On a Friday afternoon, I spend some time writing down all of my Family, Personal and Work plans for the week ahead.

Don’t assume that you will remember certain things, even if they are regular tasks. I find it best to write down absolutely everything from taking out the bins to invoicing for a completed project.

List each task to break it down in terms of importance and urgency – it’s all laid out in front of you to see.

Next – and this part is really important – circle the 1-3 tasks that are the most important and focus on completing these.

Look closely at the other tasks on your list and see if they are:

    • really necessary – can they be deleted?
    • able to be outsourced or passed to someone else
    • able to be automated and streamlined – this potentially works if they’re repetitive tasks

You can download my free Weekly Planner and create a daily to do list each day by clicking here or on the image below:

Love from Mim - Weekly Planner Printable

2.  Don’t cherry pick

It’s all too easy to pick out the tasks you love doing or the quick fixes first and tick them off. Whilst you’ll get a great sense of achievement in ticking them, this isn’t going to help to prioritise your To Do list.

Highlight the tasks that are going to be the hardest or take the longest to complete. If they are also the most urgent ones to get done, then tackle them first.

You’ll feel so much better in placing a small tick against a large, boring or challenging task than many ticks against the easy stuff.

Related: Progress over perfection: stop getting stuck + Printable Action Plan!

3.  Try not to multi-task

Multi-tasking can work well for many but not for all. It’s much better to do a job well than to do many jobs poorly.

The same applies for your planner To Do list or daily task list.

There is no benefit in starting a few tasks and never finishing them if you can tackle each on in turn and complete them well. Stop getting distracted and learn how to prioritize tasks with what’s most important first.

This can be especially tough if you are juggling many commitments and especially if you have the same deadline for multiple jobs. It’s much better to allocate time for each one separately and so much more efficient for you to do so as well.

4.  Be flexible

Now, this is going to slightly contradict my advice on starting one task and finishing it before you move on to the next one. Bear with me.

There will be times when your priorities or deadlines change and one job becomes much more urgent suddenly. Be flexible and open to reshuffling your To Do list to reflect this change.

Throughout the day, take a few minutes to have another glance at your To Do list for that day.

Are your priorities still the same?

Do you need to reshuffle anything?

As well as giving you the opportunity to reassess your priorities, it’s also a positive way to see how much you’ve already accomplished by counting up those ticks!

5.  Reflect

At the end of your day, have another glance over your To Do list and tick off everything that you’ve done.

For the tasks you did not yet complete, pop them into your daily task planner for the next day, or later in the week when you will have time to do them.

By doing this, you’ve reflected on everything you have achieved that day and at the same time, you’ve already started the planning and prioritising process for the next day.

The result of this means your mind can be clear and relaxed and you can go to bed knowing what needs to be done the next day and having a plan to do it!

How to Prioritise your To Do List

I hope these tips have helped you to think more about how you can better organise your day and week to get more done.

Does any of the above work for you to create a more efficient to do list? And do you use a paper to do list planner too or something online like Asana or a digital daily task manager?

I would love you to share your best to do list prioritising tips in the comments. Tell me how you organize plan and prioritize your work!

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Find out How to Prioritise your To Do List to be more productive and efficient and get things done! - Love from Mim #lovefrommim #todolist #productivity #productivitytips #howtobemoreorganised #organizationtips @#organizationatwork #productive #productivityhacks How to be more organised and how to be productive

What is your advice on how to prioritise your To Do list? Updated. Originally published on April 24th 2017.

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2 Comments

  1. Lindi
    / 1:16 am

    I am a big list maker to and a big lover of pretty stationary…. My life is made so much simpler by making lists I have been shamed by people for doing them but for me they are really helpful … I have lists for house jobs, budgeting, for bulk cooking day, meat and food list for the freezer, dry food pantry to name a few they all make my life easier.

  2. Phoebe
    / 9:58 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I needed this so much.

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.

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