There are so many to do list examples but getting more done in your day does not have to be so complicated.
Finding the right time management system that works for you can be tricky. If you are like me and thinking on paper works better then living in a digital world is not easy. I would love to have 10 pretty notebooks for each project, strategy, plan. But that is unmanageable. You would end up with papers in places you didn’t know you even had!
Once you get in a routine of what works for you, the amount of stuff you can get done will surprise you.
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But how do some people seem to get so much more done in their 24hr period than others? First I want you to remember that you don’t know the full story of that person’s situation. They might have kids at daycare or they have a house cleaner.
Their house looks like it belongs in a magazine but you forget that if they are a home decor blogger that is what they are getting paid to do. Their Instagram feed is going to be drop-dead beautiful home decor photos because that is their business. When you start to feel a twinge of jealousy put your blinders on and do your own work.
Related Post: Not Comparing Your Situation To Others.
Ok, now that we got that out of the way…
Personally, I thrive on what could qualify as organized chaos. I feel so much better about myself if I have accomplished A LOT in a day and can see it on paper. My personal to-do list examples would probably overwhelm you.
If you are like me and have a lot on your plate and that is just how you run. Remember that being busy does not always mean you are productive.
We all have little fires that pop up and we might not get as much done as we had hoped. But having a planned to do list each day will keep you from getting distracted.
The main point I want you to grasp is actually a quote in a book by Dave Ramsey.
“Tell your day where to go so you don’t wonder where it went.”
If you don’t set a plan for each and every day. You will be looking at the clock wondering where the day went.
To be able to put a checkmark by that item on the list you HAVE TO BE intentional with your time and take action once you set a plan for that day.
Tell Your Day Where To Go
Every evening make a to-do list for the following day. If you are a business owner then do this at the end of your work time for the following day or block of work hours.
This helps you clear your mind for a restful evening and allows for you to just have fun with family and pull your mind out of the office. You can do this whatever time of day makes the most sense for you.
Give Your To-Do List Purpose
Here are two different to do list examples that will help you.
To Do List Examples: Option 1
After you have brain-dumped all of your to-dos on a sheet of paper go back through and put an A by the items that need to be done today or are the most important. Things like an appointment with a client, business calls, things that move your business forward or the big goals in life.
Spend your time doing the things that are important, not urgent. I know this can be hard to differentiate but with practice, you will get the hang of it.
Urgent but not important is making a fancy dinner you found on Pinterest rather than making hamburgers or some other fast meal.
Then put a B beside everything that would be nice to have completed today but could be moved to the following day. Now once you have a letter assigned to every item on your list go back through and give each item in the A’s a number (Example; A1, A2, A3), now do the same with the B’s. Now you should have a to-do list that looks something like this.
If you are anything like me you probably have more on that list than humanly passable to complete in that day. So start with the A tasks, work your way down the list and be ok with what you got done.
To-Do List Examples: Option 2
Make a grid or 4 rows on a piece of paper. Mark each section with these labels.
Important & urgent | urgent but not important | important not urgent | not urgent or importaint.
As you list out everything in your mind ask yourself is this urgent or important? If you have a hard time and find yourself putting most things in the urgent and important box then as another person to take a realistic look at your list.
Read more about deciding what tasks are urgent or important.
An example of urgent & important is paying a bill that is due in 3 days. There is a due date and if you miss it there will consequences whether it is a late fee or your water gets turned off.
An example of not important but urgent is your favorite show is going live tonight. Yeah sorry that’s not important.
You want to spend your time in these two areas.
Important & urgent | Important but not urgent.
Everyone’s definition will be different. You must decide what is right for your situation and be honest with yourself.
Don’t let these to do list examples limit you. If you are trying to make a system work for you but you can’t seem to stick with it. Then take a step back and look at why. There is no perfect system and you have to play with the systems a while before you find your sweet spot. Don’t just try another person’s to do list examples because the last one did not work.
Here are 15 more free to do list examples if those did not mesh with your style.
Simple But Effective To-Do Lists
Another way that is just as effective is choosing your top three things that are time-sensitive and need to be done today or in the next few days. And the things that will move you forward in your business goals or “the big things” in life.
Be Ok With How Far You Got On Your To-Do List.
This is where the spice comes in. If all you get done that day is the item at the top if the list THAT’S OK! Just move the others to the next day. You got the highest priority accomplished and that is what is important.
If you are honest with yourself and gave it your best then you should be ok with that.
Keys To Managing Time
These tips together will help you get better at managing your time. You have to be willing to practice often and when you see yourself fall off the bandwagon. Just get back on and keep moving.
Get a Planner
Yes, even you male readers out there…I see you. I am sure you can find a manly one;) Here is an un-dated one that would work well for planning a business and setting goals to work towards.
Get a planner and put EVERYTHING you want to accomplish in that planner. I personally have two planners and I will explain why in a minute.
My favorites are the planners with one full page for each day so you can write your to-do list in the planner.
I have started using a 6 ring binder style planner (check them out here) because you are able to “build your own” and make it work for you. If you get one of the other planners you are stuck with how they are printed.
You may not have an “appointment” each day but we all have things that need to be done. Treat EVERY task like it is an appointment.
Learn To Say No
I like to have a “month at a glance” because it is extremely helpful when someone wants to set up a meeting and you can quickly look to see how busy your week or month is getting.
If your time is looking really tight, learning to say no comes to be an important part of learning to plan your day.
Sure you may not “have to” be anywhere BUT! You do have a full week. Always try to leave some space between appointments so you are not running from one thing to the next.
Learning to set boundaries will help you keep a peaceful life and not a crazy one.
Being busy is not a badge of honor.
The second planner (or printed out monthly calendar)
I also have a 2nd 2-year planner for my “would like to’s” and my content calendar/ launch calendar. As well as any other projects that need to be done in a specific time of the year but I don’t have a specific date yet. Things like cleaning up the yard, freshening the chicken coop, or planting flowers. Preparing the animals for winter, things like that.
If you had all of that in one calendar (assuming you could fit it in) your planner would get REALLY messy fast.
I know what your thinking “I just put everything on my phone, I don’t need a planner”. What happens if you are on the phone and you need to make an appointment or see when you are available? It is much simpler to have it written down somewhere.
Planning 10min Each Day Will Save You 2 Hours Of Time Every Day.
Rather than running around crazy hoping and praying we make it to the end of the day alive, let’s take just 10-15 minutes the day before to help calm our day to come.
You can do amazing things with your 24hrs each day. Be intentional with the time you have.