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How to Wrangle Your To Do List

By June 17, 2014 No Comments

Getting everything done is a common problem for students, especially if you have lots going on in your life.  If it feels like you’re going round in circles, unable to decide where to even start, these tips might help:

  1. Make a list of all the things you can think of that need to be done.  Just getting it out of your head and written down can make a huge difference.  Don’t panic if the list is long!
  2. Now for each item, decide if it’s truly urgent (i.e. needs to be done very soon) or important (i.e. has big consequences).  Some items may be both urgent and important, and some may be neither.
  3. Once you’ve made that decision for each item, go through your list and highlight all the items that are both urgent and important. These are your highest priority tasks.
  4. Rank these high priority tasks in order from most to least urgent.  Then rank the ones that are either just urgent or just important in a way that makes sense to you.
  5. Starting with the most urgent of the high priority tasks, allocate each task to a day when you plan to do them.  Put the tasks in your calendar and set reminders.  Try not to cram too much into any one day if you can help it, or you will just end up feeling overwhelmed all over again.
  6. Now, at the beginning of each day, make a realistic list of what you can do that day, including (and preferably starting with) the highest-ranking tasks you have allocated to the day in your calendar.  Refer back to your original list and add in a couple of smaller and easier tasks that you could slot in if you have time.  Having a mix of bigger and smaller tasks works well, and sometimes it even helps to start with something small to get the momentum going, before tackling the big deal for the day.  The key though is to make sure you get to the important and urgent stuff as early as possible in the day.

Enjoy powering through your tasks!
Image credit:  Kyle Steed via Flickr

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