Words By Tara Wagner

Can’t Seem To Get Your To-Do List DONE? 3 Effective To-Do List Techniques

Hand writing a billeted list

You’ve got this massive to-do list and it never seems to get done. It never seems to actually shrink you just keep feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. Just trying to keep your head above water. Sound familiar?

Let’s talk about three effective to-do list techniques that are going to actually put you back in charge of that list. 

Watch here or read on below.

Can’t Seem To Get Your To-Do List DONE? 3 Effective To-Do List Techniques Click To Tweet
Technique #1 – Projects vs. Tasks

The first effective to-do list technique has to do with what’s actually going on that list.

I don’t mean that some things shouldn’t be written down, what I actually mean is some things aren’t broken down. If you’re putting projects on your to-do list versus tasks, you’re going to feel overwhelmed.

A to-do list should be made up of single-step tasks, not multi-step projects.

So let me give you an example. One idea of this would be to go to the grocery store. It sounds like one simple thing to do. I’m not asking you to break that down to such a point where you’re like put the key in the ignition and drive to the store and find a parking spot and go inside and buy these things. 

We don’t need every little tiny step, but when we do look at the idea of going to the grocery store, that actually includes making a grocery list, maybe making a meal plan, and then going to the grocery store, or maybe going to multiple grocery stores.

Projects belong in a project management tool (something like ClickUp by the way), tasks belong on a to-do list. Something that you can actually look at and check small things off to see the progress in those projects. 

It’s harder to schedule a project than it is to schedule the tasks. And you do actually want to schedule those tasks instead of looking at every single task in a project or every single task and every single project, you want to be able to organize these in some sort of project management system and pull over the ones that you just want to focus on right now, or today, or this morning or later this afternoon. This allows you to look at fewer things, not feel so overwhelmed, and actually make more progress because they’re simple, actionable tasks and not big giant projects. 

Technique #2 – What’s The Priority?

The second effective to-do list technique is understanding what’s the actual priority here.

If you’re not prioritizing your tasks, it’s really easy to get caught up in the wrong ones and spend your time on something that didn’t need your attention just yet, or maybe at all. Just because it’s on your list doesn’t mean it actually belongs there. 

Now, prioritization is something we could talk about multiple over multiple videos. And I have multiple videos on them, including the one that we just did last week on the Eisenhower Matrix. So if you struggle with understanding how to prioritize your tasks… which ones you should be doing first or protecting it most fiercely, and which ones you should probably be delegating, outsourcing, or eliminating completely, I highly recommend you watch that video. 

Technique #3 – It’s a Living, Breathing Thing

Number three, you got to understand that your to-do list needs to be viewed as a living breathing thing, not a fixed list that you just need to barrel through, but something that actually needs constant evolution and adjusting and tweaking and changing week to week.

Look, even Santa Claus made a list and then checked it twice and you need to do the same thing.

You need to be making that list, nurturing it, coming back to it, examining it, questioning the things that are on there, rearranging things on a regular basis.

I actually encourage you to schedule time on a regular basis to be able to adjust your list according to those priorities and according to your week and the schedule that it actually has when you’re scheduling that time, make sure that you’re also going through and saying, “is this a task or is this a project?”.

And if it’s a project, use that time to break things down and schedule them so that you’re not trying to focus on “holy crap, I’ve got this big, giant thing to do along with these 20 little tiny things to do, how am I going to get them all done?”. 

You want to be able to look at that list and say, “Okay, it’s Friday, I’ve got this much time. I’m going to move these things here. And I’m going to do these things over here. And I’m going to put this right here”.

This needs to be a living breathing thing. That’s always changing. Always moving, always evolving, because guess what, you are and your life is. And if we don’t come at it with some flexibility, we’re going to get fixed. We’re going to get frustrated and we’re going to get nowhere. 

But here is the thing that I really want you to take away. Annie Dillard said, “How we spend our days is of course, how we spend our life.”

You are in charge of how you spend your days. Don’t be run by a to-do list, be in charge of it and make sure that it’s reflecting the most important things in your life, your “Big Rocks”. And if you have no idea, what big rocks are, watch this video next

Need more support?

If you want more guidance, more support on figuring out as an entrepreneur, what should go on your to-do list every day? And what shouldn’t, I highly encourage you to check out my Healthy Hustle Roadmap. My free class, How to Use a Holistic Approach to Create a Profitable Business Without Burning Yourself Out.

It will show you the three mistakes business owners are making and introduce you to the techniques, the tools, the strategies, and the approach that I use to help entrepreneurs reach six figures in under 40 hours a week. If that sounds like something that would support you, be sure to check out my free class by clicking the button below. 

What about you, boss lady?

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Tara Wagner

Tara Wagner

I’m Tara Wagner, creator of the Breakthrough Boss®. I help small biz owners overcome burnout and create part-time schedules with full-time profits. Not with some new marketing strategy, but with a holistic approach to how you operate. Click here to learn more.
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