The vast majority of the time, I find a single weekly or daily to do list enough to keep me focused. There are times, however, say, this time of year, when that doesn't quite cut it. And have you ever had that sinking feeling when you look at a list that's two, three, or even sixteen pages long?
What I've found is that not only prioritising those tasks, but separating them into different lists. I currently have 8 master to-do lists I'm running from. These change with the time of year, but they are currently (in no particular order):
- Kiki's Birthday Party
- House move
- Blogging stuff
- Baby/Pregnancy stuff
- Our after Christmas party
- Tupperware Christmas party
Some of these lists only have a few items on them, some have more than a dozen. Each night I make a list from these lists of the highest priority tasks for the next day. For example, on my list today I have:
Order cake for Kiki's birthday party
Make appointment with bank manager
Register domain name for blog transfer
Print party invites for after Christmas party
Make list of Christmas presents I still need to get
Print Christmas letters to go in Christmas cards
Pay Tupperware bill
Post Tupperware Christmas Party invites
This is obviously on top of my regular Wednesday jobs, but rather than looking at a list of hundreds of items, I can choose one or two most important things from each list, and work through them today. I do keep the master lists handy during the day, so I can make additions and/or adjustments as necessary. At the end of today I'll sit down with my lists, mark off what I achieved for today, and make a list of priorities for tomorrow.
Another way I have worked it when I've been thoroughly pressed for time, is to compile separate lists as above, but then work out daily to-do lists for the time I have left. This allows me to spread out the jobs and make sure they're all done on time.
As it is, my current master lists have 3 columns, one with the item, one for a date if necessary (ie appointments/deliveries or deadlines) and one to tick when I've done it. Of course, since I only started these lists in the last few days, there aren't a great many ticks yet, but they are increasing every day, which is the most important thing.
How do you work your to-do lists when you have a lot on? Do you even have a to-do list?