Little Lists

Efficiency Hack #12: Make Little Lists

Ever feel overwhelmed because you have so much to do and you don’t know where to start?

Too much going on in your life on too many different fronts?

Well, then try this.

Make little lists.

Instead of one big splurge of things all over the place clouding your mind and your world, categorize what you have to do and make a to-do list for each and then work your way through these lists. You could work on a different area each day (that’s what I do) to get through stuff or block out time in your diary to look at a particular thing and that thing only – having a ready made to-do list for that subject is going to help you do that even more.

I do different ‘jobs’ each day so I also take a look at my to-do lists for that particular thing on that day. For example:

  • Tuesday for me is Business day (internet stuff, consulting etc) so I get through my Business To-Do list on Tuesdays.
  • Wednesday is Property Day, so on Wednesdays I get through all of my tasks (or as many as possible) which are to do with Property.

This strategy also enables you to avoid getting side-tracked from what you’re meant to be focusing on with what you’re not meant to be focusing on (and works very well with the concept of time-boxing which we already covered). For example if I get an email about some property stuff I might find interesting, instead of looking at it (because Monday’s not property day), I immediately file it in my Property To-Do list to get it out of my inbox and then I pick it up on Wednesday when I look at my Property To-Do list.

Obviously this doesn’t have to be on any particular schedule, it could be organised by days of the week in a similar way to what I do, assigning hours in your schedule to certain things as mentioned above or ad-hoc, as and when you have time.

How you manage the categorized lists is up to you, but having distinct and separate lists for different areas of things you need to do in your life or in your business should help you to get moving on the things that count in a more effective way and in the order which makes the most sense to you.

The big splurge of things to do approach tends to get us stuck and cause us to procrastinate but with this little trick you should be able to avoid all of that nonsense and keep a decent momentum with the various areas of your life – there’s something about getting through stuff and crossing things off a list that works well like that.

Just be careful – we’re not making lists for lists sake – i.e. if you find yourself adding things to the list just so you feel like you’re getting more done, stop! We’re just putting things on the list which actually need our attention, OK?

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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