The secret power of 'to do' lists

To-Do Lists blog post by Ultimate Conferences and TheVenueShop.comWhat is the secret power of to-do lists? Why are they so beneficial & how can you get the most out of them? Are to-do lists a thing of the past, or essential? Are they loved, loathed or misunderstood?

The old-fashioned to-do list is certainly not a new tool, being one that you’ve often relied on in both your personal & professional life. You may now be feeling discouraged or pressured from using them though, with recent improvements to technology making it seem like the traditional to-do list is becoming far too “old hat”? But letting them go could be hurting your productivity, time management & problem solving skills, among other things. The longevity of the to-do list is because it actually works, as long as there are a few things you are aware of to ensure you get the most out of them.

How to write an effective to-do list?

To use a to-do list to its full potential you first need to know how to construct one that is going to allow you to meet your goals & targets.

  • Choose your platform: Whether on a piece of paper, tablet, smartphone app, or calendar - pick the platform that best works for you. Many feel physically writing a to-do list down helps to make it more memorable & “real”, whereas others find that a digital copy is more convenient & easily updated.
  • Consistency: results are not achieved overnight, sometimes you may forget to look at your list but ensure you remain consistent - turn it into a productive work habit, as it can help you to think laterally in the future when it comes to problem-solving & staying productive.
  • Be realistic: You know how long you have each day to dedicate to tasks, so try to factor this in when writing your list. Try not to include more than 8 items as you’ll be less likely to get it done, plus the longer the list, the more daunting it can be.
  • Make two: Separate your list into a “master” & “daily” list so that you have all of the tasks that need to be completed that week, but not necessarily that day. This will help you to remember the bigger picture without burdening your workload & making your daily list too long. A master list can also avoid that end of week panic when you realise there was a task that you have been putting off & it has suddenly become priority number one! (Don’t forget, this is the stage you may also realise you can delegate.  For example, when it comes to all things business events & especially venue related – if you have your “master” plan in mind, your first daily task may be as simple as letting your *Ultimate | TheVenueShop.com consultant know what your needs are for us to action on your behalf, whilst other to-do’s for putting together training materials, getting invite list/internal comm’s finalised etc might be on your own list – significantly reducing the burden on your personal resources!)

Why to-do lists are beneficial (even if you don’t complete them)

To-do lists aim to help you make a start on tasks, often being the hardest part, especially in the morning when you are more prone to procrastinating. Knowing where to start & giving yourself focus for the day very early on can keep your eyes on the prize & allows you to stay motivated - even if you don’t get to the end of your list, you started tasks you have been putting off which is a plus!

Also, writing lists can help you to subconsciously sort through information that you are presented with, for example, thinking about marketing ideas for a large event might be on your to-do list & throughout the day you are presented with inspiration or notice things that could be relevant (ideas can seem to pop up at the most unusual times!) This is because your brain knows what you are looking for & is working behind the scenes.

In another aspect, keeping your focus & prioritising in a to-do list can really highlight the non-essential, time sucking tasks & then help you to determine how best to streamline them to avoid time-wasting. You may find that your list eliminates the need to do some of these tasks altogether, or areas that can be delegated* which will find you more time to spend on other more crucial aspects.  

In Conclusion – how good do you feel now we’ve reached the end together?!

As you can see you shouldn’t discount a to-do list because even creating one helps to organise your thoughts, setting you up for successfully meeting your goals. Whether you manage to complete the whole list every day or not, just the habit & act of writing a list gives you the power to boost efficiency, time management, productivity & problem-solving skills.

We so look forward to seeing you at the 2017 EAN congress’ & expos throughout 2017, to speak with you about how we can help best look after you & do our part in ticking off some of those important business event “to-do’s”!

 

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