The very simple productivity trick that'll help you get through your to-do list every day 1 year ago

The very simple productivity trick that'll help you get through your to-do list every day

Confession: I am a notorious list-maker.

It really is the only way I can feel on top of things and in control of my life, to be honest.


And I suspect a lot of us are in the same boat. Lists just make it easier to keep tabs on things I need to do/order/sort out/pay for/subscribe to/unsubscribe to/shop for/return/make arrangements for. In other words; writing down and ticking off tasks as I complete them makes me keep head above water in this constant juggle that is life as a working mum.

The only problem? Actually managing to get to the bottom of these many lists is almost impossible.

The reality is that I often load my lists with so many tasks that not only can I not get through them all, I am also then left feeling guilty that I wasn't able to cross everything off by the time the day/week was over.

If this sounds familiar, this nifty hack that time-management and productivity coach Clare Evans recently shared with The Guardian might just help.

It seems the problem is that most of us set ourselves up to fail by adding too many things to our to-do lists.

"Realistically, how much can you fit in? It might be five or six things, or only one," asks Evan in her article.


"Identify the most important thing you need to do today and how long each task is going to take. Allocate time in the day when you’re going to do it."

Makes sense? I think so. What she is saying is that we should basically just write out our tasks, then identify their priority – and work from there. Anything that goes over the 10 most important tasks for that day/week will just simply get bumped from this list – but can, of course, be added to next week's list if it is still important that you get said task done.

You'll find you get a lot more done and feel calmer about what you need to do in general.

Here is how suggests prioritising your to-do list:

  • Write out your normal to-do list and put an asterisk next to the tasks that must be done today.
  • Split your page into three sections: 'today's most important task', 'minor tasks', 'other tasks' and copy out the tasks into each section.
  • Only put one task into the first section, two into 'minor tasks' and then two or three into the 'other tasks' section.
  • Rub out or cross off everything on the list that didn't make the cut in the above three sections.
  • Store this on a separate list, to look at tomorrow, when you create your new to-do list.