This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Perhaps it’s about time to regroup and rethink the ways to manage your overwhelming to-do list. Here’s how:
The truth is you can’t do it all. The first step to managing your to-do list is to sort your tasks according to priority. Keep an eye on your low-priority tasks. Quickly go over them and assess their importance. If deemed inconsequential, delete them. The reality is some tasks are better deleted than completed. Just because they’re on your to-do list doesn’t mean you have to do them.
Low-priority tasks are jesters in a deck of cards. Oftentimes, they’re there for no reason, and yet they’re the biggest obstacles that prevent you from completing your high-priority workload. For one, low-priority tasks don’t age well. They may have displayed importance the moment you captured them, but some tasks simply resolve on their own and no longer require further attention, making them obsolete. In fact, they are often tagged as “no priority.” Not only do they make your list a lot longer than it is, but it takes you in a completely different direction, hindering your productivity.
Use your sense of discernment in determining their relevance. For each task, ask yourself, “Is this necessary?” If the answer is “no,” delete them, move on, and don’t waste your time.
It’s important to remind yourself that you’re human, not AI. Unlike a computer, you can’t effectively run multiple processes at a time. The brain takes time to process whenever you switch contexts, halting you from finding your flow.
The key to productivity is by getting into the groove. Once you’ve found your rhythm, it will be much easier for you to go with your workflow effectively and efficiently. Being in the zone is key to accomplishing tasks quickly without compromising their quality. The trick to this is grouping similar tasks together.
Task batching is an effective productivity strategy that helps you avoid context switching. By categorizing your work, you’ll be able to find a perfect approach that applies to a variety of assignments, making it feel like it’s just one fluid execution rather than mentally jumping back and forth from one type to another. Not only will this make your to-do list a lot more organized and easy on the eyes, but it will also improve your speed and efficiency.
On top of your to-do list, it’s equally important to include your completed items. This will not only help you track your progress, but it will also help boost your confidence by knowing how productive you have been. If it’s taking a long while to fill your completed items, that’s your cue to reconsider how to improve your speed. Perhaps you’re taking too long on a task that’s not necessarily urgent? Perhaps you’re spending too much time in your inbox? Perhaps you’re prioritizing obsolete tasks? It’s your opportunity to reassess and adjust to hit your daily quota.
Did you know that most professionals spend more than two hours of their time at work checking their emails without even realizing it? From waiting for responses and digging through old attached files, to simply mindlessly scrolling, over-checking your email is one of the leading productivity deterrents in a workplace. Ideally, one shouldn’t spend more than 30 minutes in their inbox. Remember that it’s a communication tool, not your task manager. Not only does it interrupt your flow, but it interferes with your work execution. My friend Yoel Israel, CEO of WadiDigital, once told me during a collaborative work session that I spend too much time in my inbox. I agreed with him and fixed it.
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