TO-DO List Template That Will Help You Succeed Every Single Day!
How to improve your daily productivity – Your To-Do List
What does improving your daily productivity really mean? I’ve started to place more attention into planning when I turned thirty. It was at about this time that I start feeling guilty about empty and unproductive hours (like empty calories). I realized that empty hours brought no value to my life. I started wanting every minute to be productive. Having said that, it also means that I do not want to be constantly on the go.
I want my time to be a quality time. Managing time to work in my favor not against me. Therefore, every action I undertake must coincide with the question that I set as my Time Guardian (I’m sharing this question below). And if it doesn’t, it means that I should not just do this particular thing because I’ll be wasting valuable time. Regardless of your age – this moment in time, this day is given you only once.
To-do list that helps you shape a better future
When you do what you should do, when you focus on it and achieve it, your self-esteem rises. The level of positive energy grows and you have the desire to do even more. You will feel more in control of your life.
Our mind, our ability to think, plan, and decide, is the most powerful tool for overcoming procrastination and increasing our productivity. We just need to know how to make a full use of it. We need to get started and then to keep going. It’s all about the right mindset.
Time Guardian Question: WILL WHAT I AM DOING NOW – WORK FOR MY FUTURE? What can I achieve with what I am doing now, in the nearest future or in long term?
This question always helps me to ground my mind and set it on the right track. Whether it is at work or in healthy lifestyle-related context. This question is not personal nor emotional – it is simply a question. These are examples of how this question works in my life.
When it is Work Related
- does this task……..bring me closer to my goal?
- will meeting this person…..help my business/ develop my creativity/ make a positive change in my life?
- will this……help me to accomplish established plan?
When it is Health Related
- Eating this particular food….. will it help my body to stay in balance/ help me lose this extra kilo?
- Will this extra glass of wine contribute to my happiness?
Why is it important to question what to do?
Believe it or not, most of the daily activities we do, we do out of habits. We often have a scheme that we have learned and we follow it. However, behaviour patterns based on habits, limit us and our creativity. What we’ve created, becomes our prison. De facto, we become prisoners of ourselves, if we do not question “why? and “for what?”
WHY AND WHAT FOR?
These are two different questions. They are as far from each other as from here to the other hemisphere. Why? – asks for the CAUSE so it refers to the past. What for? – asks for the PURPOSE, which is related to the future.
How do I know what to do and what not to do?
Sometimes, when we have a lot on our mind: work related or family related problems – we can easily drown in the things we have to do. We feel helpless. We feel like we are pouring water out of a sinking ship. However, the test is to distance yourself from your situation. Or else think of how the situation will appear in a week or a month’s time. Being objective will help you see your situation in its real perspective. Imagine that you are asked advice by a friend or family on how to deal with exactly your situation. What would your answer be? My suggestion would be the following:
Do Not React Impulsively-> THINK & PLAN!
Your ability to set goals, make plans, and take action on them determines the course of your life.
Improving the lives of others, helping people to be more organized is a part of my mission in this life. I have researched and tried many different organizers, day planners (Wunderlist app), and all kinds of calendars. I also tested To Do List applications for smartphones. And I have used strategies such as GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen etc. All of these were interesting. Each organizational skill thought me new ways of perceiving my priorities and goals and make them manageable.
Despite trying all these innovative Apps, what worked best for me was simply jotting down my “to-do-list” on a scrap of paper. This basic time management rule is more visible. Somehow it is easier to follow this simple discipline than looking at the tasks that in my organizer. A mental list is also not enough. We tend to make constant allowances for ourselves when it is not tangible and visible.
It turns out that it’s all about the way we perceive our priorities and to-dos. One of my favorite mentors, Brian Tracy thought me that I should always think on paper. There is this magic that happens when you create the head-brain connection. There’s something about it that allows you to create better ideas. And also a better to do list.
I’ve started to do my own experiment and this is something that I’ve been doing for past 2 years. It always helps me to be productive. Whenever I stop writing my to-do list, either because I’m too lazy or whatever the reason is, I feel lost. Whenever I start using this simple strategy again, I immediately get back on the track. Let me share with you the discovery.
A single paper strategy that works – TO DO LIST TEMPLATE
I called this a single-paper strategy.
You need only one piece of paper and a pen. You can take an empty sheet but if you prefer you can download this file that I have prepared for you. It makes it even easier and nicer to fill.
This strategy will not take more than 10 minutes of your every day. But the 10 minutes spent on planning will save you hours. All you have to do is to choose maximum 5-6 goals for each day. Do not set yourself more tasks than you can manage. Just pick enough and focus on accomplishing them.
I do not sit down to work before I write down all that I WANT to do. I need to clear my thoughts from running all over the place. Unless it is on my list it is not urgent. I prepare my daily to-do list as early in the morning as possible. I do it while I’m eating breakfast or just after the morning meditation. You can do it also the day before. It does not matter when and how. What is important is that you do not begin your work before you prepare your list/fill TO DO LIST template.
GET TO-DO LIST TEMPLATE
Here is how you should organize and fill your TO DO List:
#1. Write down the date. It’s important. You realize it’s only ONE day, not more than 24 hours. Do not cram your day. Remember to include your sleeping time! Effectively you perform a maximum of 12 hours, and you relax and socialize for 4-6 hours.
#2. Ask yourself a key question (which you can also find on the TO DO LIST that I’ve prepared for you). What is that I truly want from this day? What will I be happy/proud/satisfied with by the end of the day?
#3. Don’t write down more than 5-6 things. Once I bought myself a nice calendar, which had a lot of lines on each page. I started to fill them one by one. As a result, what I wrote there so many things that I couldn’t even accomplish them in a month. Clearly, I not thought about it well.
We tend to think we can do more than we really can. Be more realistic. Be kinder to yourself. Think that tasks will often take more not less time than expected. Divide your page in a way to write only a few things that are doable in one day. Don’t write all you want to do in a week or in a month. You will simply be unable to finish your list. When you sit down to analyze it you will feel frustrated, overwhelmed and unproductive. During the day new ideas come to our mind. There will be unexpected things need to be done which take priority. Therefore you need to allow space for the unknown-but-important tasks. You can only manage this by putting fewer things to your to-do list.
#4. Always work from a list. When something new comes up, add it to the list before you do it.
#5. You don’t have to do things in the order you’ve written them down. Let your day flow and do whatever you feel like starting with. Many times I like to start with the most difficult or boring task to get it off the list as quickly as possible. After that I feel that everything else is easier. What’s left on my list, I have more positive energy to do it. This feeling of progress gives me more energy.
Ask yourself this question: “If I could only do one thing on this list today, which one thing would it be?”
#6. At the very bottom of your list write down your one LONG TERM GOAL. This goal should be anything you want to achieve in the next month, 5 months, or even in a year. This long term goal you keep it writing every single day until you finally get it done. When you do it, replace it with a new one on your list. The key secret in this exercise is to stay FOCUSED. The focus will help you achieve anything that looks impossible. And this is what this paper is about – it helps you to stay focused. It breaks down tasks that look impossible. It creates a ladder which you climb gradually till you reach the top. Therefore your to-do list is important.
I hope you have enjoyed this post. Now I would like to have your feedback.
- Do you use any TO-DO application or methodology?
- How can this downloadable TO-DO List template help in your everyday life?