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Op/Ed

3 tips to make your to-do list *actually* work for you

Finding the motivation to be productive can be trying at times. Adding a few simple steps to your to-do list execution may help the process.

Person holding phone representing side hustles.

I’m fairly certain that finding the key to streamlining my productivity will be the bane of my existence. Trust me, I know how hard it is to sometimes get work done when it is so much easier to not get my to-do list done.

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This is why it is always a good idea to have a strategy in mind when trying to be productive. Setting aside time at the start of your week to figure out what tasks to tackle can wind up saving you so much more time in the long run.

What works for me

Apps and programs have been developed to help individuals tap into their productivity. However, productivity and motivation are more feeling-based than people realize and need to be channeled on a person-by-person basis.

Since there is no one way to channel productivity, everyone may have their own method. But, if you’ll indulge me, I’ll share with you some tips that I’ve found to be beneficial.

1. Be organized and detailed.
I start off each week by creating a to-do list in my planner. Generally, it is a bulleted list that has subsections that detail what components need to be completed in order to accomplish the main goal (i.e. Task: Clean house; Details: mop floors, dust shelves, throw out 12 pizza boxes, etc.)

By doing this, you have a clear and visual list of what you expect of yourself that week. And, as we all know, it feels semi-victorious when we are able to check something off of the list.

2. Prioritize.
To go off of the organized to-do list, I try and create the list in order of priority. If there is something that absolutely must get done that week, I write it at the top. If it can hold off a week or two, it finds its way toward the bottom of the list.

In addition, it is helpful to create deadlines for all of your tasks. By doing this and prioritizing, you are creating something that will hold you accountable for your responsibilities. In turn, you are more likely to accomplish your tasks because of the tinge of pressure.

3. Create good vibes.
If you are working to motivate yourself or your team to be productive, taking a little time to create something such as a motivational collage can be helpful in the long run. Even though it’s cliché, reading Nike’s slogan of “Just do it” can sometimes help to take you that extra mile to complete your to-do list.

This is especially beneficial for team productivity if you collaborate and create something that is helpful and motivational for everyone. Display it somewhere that offers frequent views and endorsement.

In the end…

Finding a means for productivity is different for everyone and may not be solved by these steps. However, giving them a shot may lead you to find your own methods and your own groove.

Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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