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Part 2: Successful to-do lists help us live with intention – not reaction.

We create lists to help us organize tasks, manage our time, and get things done – but a bad list can hinder our productivity. If you want a more detailed read on the power of a successful to-do list, read the book To Do List Formula by Damon Zahariades.

Task management can be personalized to fit your style and your needs – matching your work process. Paper or digital? Or both?

My favorite tools:

·        A small spiral notebook (my Brain Book – because your mind makes a lousy office)

·        Google Tasks (a sharable tool which works on my iPhone, your android, and desktop computers)

·        Google Calendar (another sharable, bilingual application that works and talks to any phone or computer)

How to Create the Perfect To-Do List so you can:

·        Get important stuff done on time

·        Reduce stress

·        Eliminate frustration

·        Help focus

·        Avoid distractions

·        Get a life!

·        Mind Map

The Steps for a Successful To-Do List:

1.     Isolate current/daily tasks from future tasks. Your massive master list (created when you brain dump) is set aside for the day and is used to plan your daily list.

2.     Define tasks by the desired outcome. Ask “why?”

3.     Break projects down into individual tasks. Your daily list should contain actionable items, not projects.

4.     Assign a deadline to each task on your master list to help you prioritize your daily tasks. Use realistic deadlines. Ask “why?” Give yourself less time than you think you’ll need – and build in contingency time.

5.     Limit daily lists to 7 items that require at least 15 minutes to complete. Create batch lists for groups of tiny tasks.

6.     Organize tasks by project, type, or location to keep your master list under control!

7.     Prune your master list: Remove wishes, unclear tasks, trivial tasks, and well-intentioned resolutions.

8.     Estimate time for each task. To do this you need to know what’s required: tools, information, and input from others, etc.

9.     Use an active verb to begin each task: instead of contact Bob, use call, email, text, in-box, or meet.

10.Note which tasks require input from others and add a follow-up date by each “waiting” item.

Conduct Weekly Reviews to:

1.           Gather all your lists

2.           Brain dump* – add to your master list

3.           Break down new projects

4.           Fine tune tasks by context

5.           Clear your inbox

6.           Purge lists

7.           Note important and urgent

8.           Note tasks requiring input with name and follow-up date

9.           Review and adjust deadlines

10.      Assign deadlines to all new tasks on all lists

11.      Review your calendar so you can create effective daily to-do lists

*Over the next couple of weeks we’ll look more closely at the Brain Dump and Mind Maps.

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