When I first started college (okay, let’s be real, basically up until last semester), I used to be that person who made endless to-do lists. I tried to fill up my days with EVERYTHING possible, often 10 or more tasks, always more than I could possibly get done. The problem with that? It was never good enough. My work was never done. Once I completed one task, it was time for another – and another – and another. By the end of the day, I was burned to the seams, feeling incomplete for not getting it all done. Some tasks stayed on that list for a few weeks, just serving as a placeholder, for things I had been “meaning to do,” but hadn’t gotten around to.
It never seemed like there was enough time in a day. UNTL I started reading about time management and productivity. The more I read, the more I heard about how many of the world’s most successful people do this one thing. Since adopting this habit, my days have become tremendously more productive, successful and meaningful.
What is it? Every evening, list your Top 3 Priorities for the next day, in order of importance. The next morning, wake up and do them in that order.
Not 5, not 10 – just 3. Trust me, I was tempted to add more, too. We often make endless to-do lists and then get caught up with what to do first. Narrowing our list down to just a small 3 ensures that we accomplish our most important tasks and focus on what really matters.
For me, this might look like:
- Get in a run and gym workout.
- Write and publish a blog post and share on social media.
- Complete and submit assignment for online nutrition class.
Start by analyzing your current to-do list or start fresh, listing all of your next-day goals that come to mind. To figure out your top 3, ask yourself: What are the 3 most essential tasks that, if completed, will provide the greatest sense of accomplishment? Pick those.
From there, you can decide what to do next. But only after these 3 priorities are taken care of.
In the words of Maggie Fox, CEO of Social Media Group:
“If you have more than 3 priorities, you have no priorities.”
What’s your take on to-do lists? Do you make them daily? How do you distinguish the urgent from the important? Share your to-do list tips in the comments below!