3 Important Steps To An Effective To Do List

“Every aspect of your life can benefit from goal setting, action planning, prioritizing, and list making.”   

Well-Qualified List-maker

I recently realized that while I’m indeed a good voice talent, and parent, I’m an EXCELLENT list maker (and an EXCELLENT judge, btw). Turns out, my upbringing that resulted in ongoing anxiety, caused me to be an obsessive list maker and a fine critic. As a result, I can churn out lists like nobody’s business (and provide feedback to whoever is willing to listen).

That said, there are three things that need to be done BEFORE you make an effective To Do List. (I’m able to take my obsessive list making to a stratospheric level.)

To be clear, this can apply to any list at all – even a grocery list, believe it or not…

Three things to do before making an effective to do list

Set Goals – You need to know your goals. If you work at your task list all day long, but it doesn’t agree with your goals, you may be wasting your time. In order to truly be effective in our lives, to reach the goals and dreams we set for ourselves, we need to know what our goals are and stay on track.

Create Action Plan – If you can elaborate on your goals, by way of an action plan, you are creating a map for yourself to lead you to a final destination. An action plan can help you visualize AND effectively produce the steps you need to then reach the goals. It may even help you see and avoid potential pitfalls.

Prioritize – Once you’ve uncovered and acknowledged your goals, and set the wheels in motion with an Action Play, there will be some analyzing necessary. Prioritizing helps separate the important stuff, from the not-so-important stuff and helps create a list that is efficient and productive.

If your life in general could use some shifts, this can be a vast , but worthwhile, project for you to take on.

If your job itself is overwhelming and tasks are overflowing, the process of list making, and all the proceeds it, can help manage your workload.

Here’s a simple example:

If you’re setting out to simply do groceries, how could you possibly benefit from setting goals, creating an action plan, and prioritizing before completing your list and heading out the door?

Start here: What might your “goals” be? How about “To Eat Healthier”?  Well, how would you do that? That’s where the action plan comes in…

How WOULD you eat healthier? List 3 ways.

1. Find healthy recipes that I would actually eat.

2. Prepare food ahead of time to avoid bad choices.

3. Plan my meals for the week.

Then ask yourself “how” you would do all those three things, and keep asking, until there are no more “hows” under each and every task. (You’ll see I left blank spaces to indicate that you can keep going further with breaking down the tasks.)

1. Find healthy recipes that I would actually eat.

  • *Pull out a cook book.
  • *Look up recipes online.
    • Find some choices that intrigue you.
  • *Buy a healthy recipe magazine.
    • Choose some possibilities
      • Decide if others you are feeding would enjoy
        • List out ingredients

2. Prepare food ahead of time to avoid bad choices.

  • *Choose some recipes.
  • *Decide on healthy snacks.

3. Plan my meals for the week.

  • *Create a calendar for meals
    • Find one online or draw one up
      • Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks

As a result, you’ve just started an action plan!

Now you’ll look back at all your “how’s”, prioritize all that brainstorming, and take a few things off the list. Hopefully after this exercise you will be able to create a grocery list that includes meals that align with your goal of eating healthier. Your list will reflect this.

While I’m only scratching the surface, the same theory applies to anything. Your daily schedule, your career, your health – every aspect of your life can benefit from this process of goal setting, action planning, prioritizing, and list making.





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