A big task list is almost like a fierce beast that growls at you throughout the day. You never know when it will swoop down on you and ruin your day. Taming your task list is often all you need to get more work done and to ease off the pressure. Here’s what you can do.
Gather All Your Tasks in One Place
Don’t keep one task on your work computer, one or your home computer, one on your phone, and one on your tablet. Above all, don’t try to manually update every one of these tasks across different devices. It’s a time sink. Even worse, it increases the risks that you’ll forget tasks and fail to complete them on time. Tame your task list by keeping all your tasks in one place, preferably in a cloud-based app that can sync them across devices.
Make Every Task Actionable
Every task should have a subject and an action verb that sum it up in just a few words. If you can’t reduce a task to an action verb, chances are you don’t even have to do it. Tasks also have to be specific. “Work on web design,” or “Improve landing page,” isn’t specific enough. “Change call to action buttons,” or “Make landing page mobile-friendly,” is better. Each task should be about one thing only.
Assign Deadlines to Each and Every Task
Task lists can reach tremendous sizes once small, seemingly insignificant tasks pile up. This happens because most of us are tempted not to add deadlines to small, secondary tasks. But every task that ends up on your list should have a clear due date. You can even go a step further and specify by which time of day the task should be completed, i.e. morning (9 am), noon (12 am), or evening (4 pm).
Review Your Tasks Each Week
From one week to the other, some tasks that are pending can lose their importance. Some may even become unnecessary. But unless you review all tasks in your master task list and update them at least once a week, it’s hard to keep up with all those changes.
What you have to remember is that task lists are dynamic even when they are just bullet points on a piece of paper. With day to day task planning, we tend to focus on what we have to do, not on what we don’t have to do anymore. That’s why revising your tasks weekly is so important.