Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Productivity with a 2do list

As the senior software developer in a development team I have a thousand and one different things that need to be done an any given time. We have all sorts of systems in place to ensure that I do all that needs to be done; job cards, MS Outlook calendar, project documents, etcetera. Surprisingly, the most effective is still the good old fashioned “To Do” list (or 2do list as I call it).

The 2do list is quite simply a list of tasks that you need to do. It sounds so simple, and it is. You may be thinking that there must be some more advanced way to do this than just writing a list, or that it’s a waste of time. I will share a secret with you...

There is powerful magic in 2do lists

  • They help organise your thoughts and prioritise tasks.
  • They boost productivity as you always know what your next task is.
  • From a motivational perspective, you are now working towards a set goal; completing as many task on the list as possible. 
  • Finally,  crossing items off the list has a great feel good factor and you go home at the end of the day knowing that you were productive.

Make your list now

You can use a pen and writing pad or a spreadsheet on your PC. If you are using a pen and paper, keep it close to your writing hand, if you are using an application on your computer, ensure that there is a link to the file on your desktop or task bar and that you are able to cross out or change the colour or completed Items.

Every morning, before your start working, write a list of everything that you need to do, now flag the tasks that must be done before you finish work. If you want to,  you can even assign priority levels to tasks, but I find the simpler I keep the list, the better it works. Cross out each task as you complete it. Start a new list every day so that your list does not get cluttered with completed tasks and provide a false sense of accomplishment.

Over time my 2do list as broken up into several separate lists. There are lists for home and work, daily and monthly, I even have a yearly 2do list with my goals for the year.

Try it now, and see the difference.

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