Tag Archive: to-do items

To-Do ListDo you have a to-do list? If so, is it an active, effective one? I’m not talking about a list that has all kinds of things piled on it, some things done, maybe crossed off; others just there. I don’t mean a list that things have been on for so long you might not even remember what some of them are related to or why you added them in the first place. If that’s what your list looks like, it’s time to clean it up and if you don’t have one, it’s time to change that!

Having a to-do list to help manage the many things on your agenda is a key factor in the game.  If you use one effectively on a regular basis, you’re someone who’s committed to productivity.  If you don’t have one, you might be stuck in the overwhelm conversation from the amount of things you have to do and you may be forgetting or not getting to the important things.

If that’s where you are, take a moment to think about what having and effectively using a to-do list will do for you. What would that look like? Let me share some of the advantages with you:

  • All of your tasks are in one place and prioritized
  • Being able to clearly see what needs to be done
  • Prioritizing keeping you on track
  • You are organized, and more efficient
  • Not being stressed by unimportant tasks
  • Your complete, prioritized to-do list drives your time management system

Without a solid to-do list you lack focus and you’re not as efficient or reliable to those around you.  If you have a to-do list, is it doing these things for you?  If not, chances are that it’s not up to date, contains old, unfinished items and you don’t update it on a regular basis as one of your practical systematic pieces.


Monday Easy ButtonA lot of people look forward to the end of the work week. For some Friday means spending the weekend with loved ones and more fun. For others, it means the end to the weekly grind. If you really are doing what you love, but find yourself looking forward to Friday because it means the end of the grind, you’re probably wasting a good deal of time on Friday afternoon. Instead of counting down the hours as Friday afternoon drags along, use it to set yourself up for a productive Monday.

One thing that you can do to set the stage for a productive Monday is to look at your schedule for the coming week. Look at what’s already on your calendar for the week ahead and add anything that’s missing. Make sure that you’ve included all of your meetings and set reminders for them. Place anything that you need for the meeting in one place so that they’re ready to go. That includes driving directions if you need them.

Be sure that your project deadlines for the week are in your calendar as well as your to-do items with time blocked out to work on them. Doing so will clear your mind of the feeling that you’ve forgotten something and allows you to not only have the great weekend you’ve been looking forward to, but it makes for a efficient Friday and sets you up to start your week on a productive note.


You have a mountain of things to do and you probably feel as though you don’t have enough time to get it all done.  The truth of the matter is that you have all the time that you need, and, you’re not going to get any more.

Given that reality, you have to make the shift and change your behaviors. One of the things that you can put into play to help you with getting everything done is to priorities your to-do items.  I always recommend the ABC method for prioritizing.

Priority A=something that must be done and will have great negative consequences if not completed.

Priority B=something that is important, but of course, not as important as an “A” priority.  If these things don’t get done, the consequences aren’t as great.

Priority C=Something that would be nice to do, but isn’t necessary and won’t cause a problem if it’s not done.

Priority D=DELEGATE!! Yes, I know how difficult you might find this to be, and you might say that by the time you show someone how to do the task, you could have done it yourself. Quite the opposite…when you delegate you’re getting back some of your time. It’s an investment. Just do it!

Priority E=ELIMINATE! That’s right. Eliminate it. Get rid of it. Take it off of your to-do list. It’s not important enough to belong there. Your focus belongs on the important stuff. Period!

Looking at the things that you’ve got to get done, determine which priority each one should have and assign them.  Ideally, when you create goals you should prioritize them, and let those priorities filter down to your daily to-do items.

When it comes to the list of things that we have to do, it can be difficult getting to the things that really matter.  What mattes most to you?  Family and friends, things related to the work you love, or personal time?  What ever it is, how do you get to the to-do items in the areas that matter most to you?  Are you relating what you do daily to your values?

Look at how you manage your time.  Do you have a tool that fits your time management personality and a system to support it?  If you’re not organized and don’t have a time management system in place it can be even more difficult to get to what matters most.  You can spend a lot of time putting out fires and not getting to what matters most.

In the fast paced society that we’re operating in today it’s easy to forget about the things that we really want to do; the things that truly satisfy us.  Usually, people spend time working on things that are important and urgent, but also tend to focus on things that are urgent but not important such as interruptions, non productive meetings and pressing matters.  Very rarely do they spend time on things that fall under the category of being important but not urgent; things like planning, seizing opportunities, and recreation and relaxation.

Where are you spending your time?  Do you end up working on the things that are urgent and important or are you managing yourself effectively and working on things that are important but not urgent?  We’ll look at those areas and the rest of Covey’s Quadrant in my next post.

Life is all about how we relate to the things and people around us.  Our friends and family, how we do business, everything is based upon relationships and those relationships impact everything.

The same is so when it comes to time.  Our relationship with time impacts everything.  Most of us aren’t really conscious of how we relate to time.  Do you squander it, or use it wisely?  How many times have you overlooked or not allotted time for that particular project, then found yourself scrambling to get it done by the deadline.  In that rush, other things get delayed, put off or forgotten along the way, each having its own impact on you and others.

That domino affect has a lasting impact.  Not only are other to-do items affected but your reputation may be as well.  To stop the dominoes from falling, stop and explore your relationship to time.  It’s as simple as looking at how your time is being spent by logging what you do for a week or so.  Where is your time going; are you spending it on what’s important to you?  Are you making time to plan or is your focus on rushing and putting out fires because of a lack of planning?  How do you view time?  Perhaps you think there’s never enough of it.  Next, look at your personal preferences around time.  All of these things help to reveal your relationship with time.

Once you know how you’re relating to time, you can set the stage for improving that relationship.  If you’re not spending time on the important things, then shift gears and your focus.  Remove the unimportant things from your to-do items.  Doing so won’t happen over night, but it is possible.  Then discover your time management personality by looking at your personal preferences and choose a time management tool that fits that personality.  Implement use of every feature the tool provides, set it up and use it in your regular planning along with other tools and habits to complete a solid time management system.

These simple steps will help you improve your relationship with time and impact your life in a positive way.

©2010 Sheila Hawkins

Time and Space (c) 2015, 2011 [ Back to top ]