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Use a “To Do” List as an Effective Tool to Manage Yourself

By: Yvonne A Jones Category: Time Management

“Burn Your To Do List” was a headline I read some time ago, and although the writer may have had really great content, my initial reaction was, Oh no. I could not do without my “To Do” list!  How about you?

Everyone of us as entrepreneurs wear different hats that involve various aspects of our lives, and with the fast pace of life regardless of where you live these days, it’s almost impossible to retain everything mentally.  If you’ve been able to do that successfully, then you have my utmost respect and awe.

We all have different personality types and some are more detailed than others.  One person may be content with jotting down just brief notes of what they need to do on a daily basis, while others prefer a detailed list.  The bottom line is that you as an individual must decide what works best for you.  Here are some suggestions to avoid frustration:

  • Every night make a list of the three or four most important things you need to get done the following day.  These would include personal and business.  The advantage of doing this the night before are many, but among them, knowing that you’ve put the important things you need to do on paper, you don’t have to worry about them or that you may forget to do them.  Secondly, you can start the day knowing exactly what your priority tasks are so you save time.
  • Some persons like to use a computer generated Planner and that’s great if that works for you.  My suggestion would be to print each day’s activity and take it with you, because I would imagine that it would be frustrating to be away from home and know there’s something you should do but can’t recall what it is.

Making and keeping a “To Do” list is an effective way to keep track of your weekly and monthly goals.  If you have no idea what you should be doing daily, it will be hard to know what you need to give attention to.

What types of “To Do” lists to you use?  Or do you feel you should have a “To Do” list?  I’d love to hear your comments.  We learn from each other…

10 Comments to “Use a “To Do” List as an Effective Tool to Manage Yourself”


  1. Yvonne,
    I am a big to-do list person! I keep a daily to-do list as well as a weekly to-do list.
    My lists are kept in my day-timer (yes, I still like pen and paper!)as well as on my Xoom and my smartphone. Probable overkill, but I always want to have my list with me.

    Not only work-related, I also keep personal/househld lists. And I never go grocery shopping without one! 🙂

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  2. One primary consideration- keep your ToDo list to under a page (if using paper) or if using a computer (like I do) have a link to other items that will need execution later this week, month, and year.
    If the list that appears each night or each morning (whatever your preference) and stays active for the next 24 hours is too long, you will feel overwhelmed. (Unless you are like me and feel festinated!)
    Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA recently posted..We ARE in this together!

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  3. Yvonne,
    I love ToDo lists!!
    Whatever type I use – I find I work better if I can see them LOL
    I like to keep my list in front of me and watch as it gets smaller and smaller.
    Great satisfaction.
    Heather x
    Heather Bestel recently posted..The Ultimate Blog Challenge

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  4. I agree with Roy! I sometimes can get overwhelmed when I list every task as a priority and then my to-do lists are 10 pages along. I think if we take it one step at a time and trust that everything that needs to get done WILL get done, we should be okay.
    BeckyKate recently posted..California Corporation Filing- LA- Orange County DBA Filing Service- LLC Formation CA

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  5. It makes sense to do as you do, Judy, and have a list for all sectors of your life. Yes, I’m a pen and paper person as well. Even if it’s in a doc. format, I print it and place in a physical planner. Great tips. Thank you.

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  6. Good points, Dr. Roy. Thank you for pointing out the benefits of keeping your list to a certain length to avoid overwhelm. But….how do you ‘feel festinated?’ 🙂 Would you explain please?

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  7. A “To Do” list should definitely be connected to your goals because as you noted about watching the list get smaller and smaller, those should be tasks toward your goal, and I know you are great at that. You manage to accomplish in one week what many of us take a month to do. 🙂

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  8. I would suggest listing only the major tasks, BeckyKate, although Roy will share with you that if the number of steps to achieve one task are too many, it’s best to break them down. I would find a 10-page list overwhelming as well. 🙂 As long as what you do works for you and take you closer to your goals, you’re ok. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. I totally agree about the importance of the “to do” list. Writing down to dos clears the mind of mental overload. It gives me a sense of relief knowing that will not be forgotten. Also they help to keep us on track and not to forget things. I keep it in the computer and then write down in my hard copy daily planner my appointments and errands. I love checking things off. It gives me a sense of satisfaction.
    Sharon Gibson recently posted..Under Construction

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  10. Sound like a great all-round plan, Sharon, to have your list in digital format and hard copy. You can have access to your list wherever you are 🙂

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