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LIST IT: MANAGING THE TASK PILE

Another work week has started! Sometimes, the task list feels like it just keeps going on and on. With no end in sight, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed by it. When you’re stressed, it’s hard to maintain concentration. You might end up forgetting things or lose focus. One of the ways that can help get through your pile is through lists.

How can lists help?

Lists can improve productivity through multiple ways. It’s usually a direct and straightforward representation of the things you need to do. Lists can help you remember what you need to do. This means less time thinking about what you need to do and more time spent on actually doing the tasks. They are also a great way of organizing and keeping yourself motivated throughout the day.

Is there a right way to make lists?

Yes. Listing everything without a clear process or intent will just give you a representation of the pile you’re working with. You may even feel like making the list was just the unnecessary hassle that wasn’t worth it and that it didn’t really help. Since the list is a tool to make you more efficient, it needs to be organized and you would need to allocate a bit of your time into making it.

Effective list-making

List all the tasks you need to do. This can be overwhelming but keep in mind that you’re only listing it for now and relieve yourself of the pressure. Consider that the tasks should not take more than 1 or 2 hours to finish. If it takes longer, divide it into smaller parts. When you first start this process, it might take longer than what you anticipate. Try to allot a day just to list and organize all you need to finish. This gives you enough time to really think of tasks you may have been putting off for a long time and may have forgotten, and also enough time to discern the importance and urgency of each task.

How to effectively use your list

Focus on what you have to finish within the next 48 hours. If possible, finish what needs to be completed today, and all tasks due today. This is to make sure your backlog pile doesn’t replenish itself daily. Try to go back to your list as soon as you wake up. Don’t try to write and organize your list for longer than 15 minutes. Many people also find it useful to organize the following day’s tasks at the end of each day.

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