Organizing 101: The Art of Extreme List Making

In a previous post I wrote about my many to-do lists.
Excessive? Perhaps. But I truly believe that emptying your mind of mental
clutter will improve focus and actually move you toward completing all of the
things on your to-do list.


Create a Master To-Do List. Start with a blank piece of
paper. Transfer everything you already have written down on other lists, scrap
pieces of paper or napkins onto this new list. Now write down anything else
that is wandering around your brain. It doesn’t matter what it is or when it
has to be done at this point. Just get it on paper. Once it’s down on paper you
are free of it until it’s time to enter it into your calendar and actually get
it done.


Next review your list and prioritize. This may be the tough
part. Try to determine what needs to be done today, this week, this month, etc.
Then be realistic about what you can get done in a day.


Now enter the things that have to be done today into your
calendar. Don’t just list them – block out time on your calendar when you know
you can complete them. At the end of the day set aside 10 minutes to review
what has been done and what you didn’t finish – there will most likely always
be something you didn’t finish! Take time now to enter those items into
tomorrow’s calendar and then re-prioritize your Master To-Do List.


Helpful hint: Use the Task feature in Outlook or other
software to record recurring tasks that you don’t want to forget. For example,
I have a recurring monthly task for reviewing my cell phone minutes to be sure I’m
not over my plan limit. The day before my billing cycle ends, I log into my account
and check my minutes used. That way I can make changes to my plan and it will
be reflected on the current billing cycle.

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