Tackle Your To-Do List

Tackle Your To-Do List

I find that to-do lists are one of the best ways to keep my life organized. They help me see everything that needs to be done, and it feels great to be able to cross a task off after it has been completed.

But, have you ever stared down at your miles-long to-do list thinking, “Where do I even begin?” Same, girl. Same.

Moments like those can make you want to procrastinate the day away, abandoning your to-do list for as long as possible. But, we all know that it’s work that needs to be done. That list isn’t going to complete itself.

Today, I’m sharing a few productivity hacks to help you tackle your to-do list with ease, no matter how long and scary it may seem.

Prioritize

Put your to-list list in order from most important to least important. This can help you visualize what needs to get done now and what can wait until later.

I like to separate my tasks into 3 categories: what needs to get done today, what needs to get done this week, and what needs to get done this month. This strategy helps me recognize which tasks to focus on first. Also, it takes away some of the pressure of having to complete everything, because I can see that not everything needs to be done today.

Start Small

When I don’t know where to start, I always start small. I look at my list and find the task that makes me think, “I can do that.” And then I knock it out and cross it off.

It’s all about building momentum. Starting small allows you to simply get started, which sets your mind and body into motion. Soon enough, you’ll have the motivation and mindset to tackle the thoughtest task on your list.

Batch Like Tasks

This useful strategy involves making good use of your momentum. I sometimes chunk the tasks on my list based on likeness. Take blogging for example. I’ll write posts, then edit graphics, then schedule social media (as opposed to writing, editing, scheduling, writing editing scheduling…).

Switching between unrelated tasks can interrupt your flow and make it more difficult to get yourself back into the correct mindset for the task at hand. In contrast, batching like tasks can allow your mind to focus on one activity while you already have the momentum. So, keep that train rolling!

Set a Timer

I like to use this strategy in two ways. The first way is when focusing on tasks that require progress, not completion. For instance, when I’m working on my writing project, I set a timer for one hour. Placing a time limit on a task not only motivates me to work hard, but it helps me recognize that an end is in sight. When I understand that I only have to work on something for one hour, I think to myself, “I can do that,” instead of putting it off again and again.

The second way I use this strategy is when rewarding myself with a break. I like to set a timer and eliminate distractions for that amount of time. Then, when the timer dings, I’ll allow myself 15 minutes of freedom to do whatever suits me. After 15 minutes, it’s back to work for another round. This works for me, but, if you’re afraid this strategy will interrupt your momentum, try giving yourself a break after completing a batch of tasks.

These are the productivity hacks that help me tackle my to-do lists with ease. I hope you were able to find a tip that could make your life a little easier!

What strategies do you use to tackle your to-do list? Let me know in the comments!



  • Using a timer is EVERYTHING! Especially when I’m feeling unmotivated. Great tips!

    • Emily

      Yes! I use it a lot when I’m writing. I love the product but I HATE the process. So, setting a timer helps me get a little something done.

  • I definitely utilize all of these things! Using a timer is new for me, but it definitely allows me to have a better grasp on time, especially when I take short breaks. I love prioritizing my lists, too, although I find myself often tackling the bigger tasks first to get them out of the way

    paige // eyeliner wings & pretty things

    • Emily

      Yes, yes, yes. I’m so glad these things work for you, too.

  • Never have I tried setting a time, thought I would be under to mush pressure to perform. After reading this I am going to give it a try. Never know how it will work until you try.

    • Emily

      Let me know how that works for you!

  • Kiara

    Setting a timer is huge for me because it helps me stick to that one task for the amount of time I set so I can get things done efficiently. Lovely post and tips!

  • I am all about being productive this year. I’ve been making lists like crazy and it helps!

    • Emily

      I’m glad it helps, Samantha!

  • I have to put my to do list into a morning, noon, and night list! Since it is the only way I can get things done!

    • Emily

      That’s a smart way of going about it, too!

  • I love the idea of batching tasks. I am doing that too, and I am not even aware of it until now that you’ve raised this point (guess I am doing it right – yay!).

    • Emily

      Good for you! It’s so helpful.

  • I’ve always been a huge list girl, and I don’t usually have a problem completing things. However, I recently bought a planner so I’m excited to be more organized with my list at least!

    • Emily

      Planners are great. They always motivate me to get things done.

  • I’m a firm believer of to do lists and setting timers/time limits! It’s so helpful. You should look into the bullet journal if you’re into planning and getting things done. I’ve got a few posts about it on my blog!

    http://www.thebrunettewithablog.com

    • Emily

      I’ve tried the bullet journal before, but it didn’t work so well for me. I’d consider giving it another shot, though. I’ll have to read your posts!

  • Mar

    To-do lists are so important. It is the first thing I do when I get to work in the morning, and also at the beginning of the week for my blog. It definitely helps to keep me accountable. Thanks for these tips!

    • Emily

      Absolutely agree! To-do lists keep me so organized.

  • My husband is leaving to go out of town for an entire week and I have a to-do list to keep me occupied!

    • Emily

      Good luck!

  • I definitely have to prioritize my to do list! Things always come up so I make sure the most important things get done first!

    • Emily

      That’s smart, Emily!

  • Love love love this post. I’m a big list maker. Sometimes I make impossible to do lists, so this is definitely helpful. I end up doing the small tasks first because it makes me feel good seeing more things crossed off the list.

    XOXO
    mQs
    http://www.shorelifeofm.blogspot.com

    • Emily

      I agree about doing the smaller tasks first. Most days, that’s what helps me get going!

  • 100% agree with your tips! I did a very similar post a month or so ago. Prioritizing is huge!

    • Emily

      Thanks, Summer! I’ll have to check out your post.

  • Batching tasks is bomb and so dang helpful! ps – loving your planner.

    • Emily

      Yes, Jenny! I completely agree.

  • Love all your tips. I think batch processing is the ultimate trick for me to get things done.

    • Emily

      Thanks! I agree, that’s very effective for me.

  • Prioritizing is something I really focus on so that I minimize feeling overwhelmed with everything I have to accomplish.

    • Emily

      That’s a great way of tackling your to-do list!

  • These are awesome tips! I live on to-do lists, but sometimes I really do lack the motivation to even begin. I love starting with small, easy tasks and eventually work my way to the meatier ones once I’m in the right mindset. I LOVE the timer tip! I need to do that when I work from home, because I know it will really motivate me to stay focused and work harder. Sharing on Pinterest!

    • Emily

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! I appreciate your support 🙂

  • I’m loving all of your tips! I always try to get my least favourite job on my list done first so it’s out of the way!
    Lianne @ http://www.makesbakesanddecor.com

    • Emily

      That’s a great strategy!

  • Elizabeth Doren

    I really like the idea of breaking it down into what gets done today, this week, etc. my fear is the list for this year will be a mile long…

    • Emily

      Yes, mine could get like that, too! But that’s why it’s nice to drag a few of those “yearly” items into the “monthly” category. It makes everything a bit less daunting.

  • I love this! My number one thing is to set a timer too! It helps tremendously 🙂

    • Emily

      I’m glad that works for you, too!

  • All so true! I’ve found I work BEST with a time, or at least under the attitude of “I have ___ amount of time to get this ish DONE!” Works like a charm. 🙂

    Coming Up Roses

    • Emily

      See, when I try to have the time limit attitude, it doesn’t work. I NEED to have a concrete due date – either make the deadline or you’re in trouble – otherwise, I’ll never get things done!