Just yesterday, I was looking at my calendar and everything I needed to accomplish in the next two weeks. From assignments I’ve been putting off, to honors coursework, to tasks for extra curricular activities, I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of dread and panic. Not to mention, the time I had available to work was cut in half by friends coming to visit this weekend and a trip home that I had been planning for a month.
So I did what I always do when I have too much work: make a “to-do” list. I wrote everything that I had to do out, in order of relative importance or time it was due, but, as usual, the list didn’t help make my work load any less daunting.
As it turns out, I have been making my “to-do” lists wrong for years. Yes, apparently there is a right and a wrong way to make “to-do” lists, or at least a more effective way.
Some of the better ways to create a list when you have an overwhelmingly large pool of tasks to be done include break big projects into more manageable tasks. I usually procrastinate because I worry that I will never finish the tasks. Instead, I can look at smaller, more easily accomplished tasks which will help to motivate me as I complete more and more of them.
Another tip, which I usually try to do, is get the difficult work out of t
he way first thing in the morning. If it is done before your day even begins, you don’t have to have the work looming over you all day. Also, it will help motivate you to finish other work that needs to be done throughout the day.
Last, but not least, creating a “completed tasks” list is a fantastic motivational tool. This is a tip that I had never hear, but will definitely utilize in the future. Whenever you complete a task, whether it was on your original “to-do” list or not, write it down. Seeing that you are making progress in your work will help keep that momentum going.