How to Conquer that To Do List

Hang up your sun hats and put on your rain macs, summer’s over and it’s time to head back to work. For most of us, the days spent lounging round the pool (or keeping the kids entertained) are well and truly over. Now we’re trading kaftans for the commute and settling back in at our desks. But there’s no need to get misty-eyed for those summer frolics. Think of September as a pseudo-New Year. A time to make a fresh start as the air turns crisply autumnal. A time to turn over a new leaf, open up a new notebook and finally tick off those ever-increasing tasks. To help you achieve it, we’ve listed a few tips for conquering your To Dos.

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Break up your tasks into smaller steps Chief reason for never getting things done is thinking that the task is too big. Often, from afar we view the mammoth objective we want to complete and are put off ever starting by fear of how long it will take. If we’re more specific though, and start with the smaller steps it takes to get there, then the whole thing becomes much more manageable.

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Prioritise (but start with something simple) Write out your To Dos in order of priority and stick to this. There’s nothing worse than spending ages on a task you know isn’t urgent but doing it instead of one that is because that thing just seems like the bane of your life. However, sometimes starting the day with something which isn’t top of your priorities but is quick and easy is a a great way to kick your brain into gear.

Give yourself deadlines Put the times you’ll start and finish alongside your tasks, that way you’re not going to write a huge To Do list at the start of the day that you have no chance of actually finishing. But give yourself a bit of cushion time for tea making/Game of Thrones chatting/lost stapler searching.

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Have multiple lists New tasks constantly crop up. If they’re not urgent, start a Master list and add them to that, rather than that day’s To Do list. Stick to what you’ve planned as doable for the day.

Start afresh Don’t keep adding to the same list that then never ends. Instead, start a new, doable one every day and then when you’ve struck out that last task, sit back and bask in the glow of a fully completed To Do list.

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Turn your phone/laptop/internet browsing device off Evidently this can be hard if you need the internet on your computer for whatever it is your doing but do you need to check your emails constantly? Sometimes turning off alerts and dedicating two to three periods of your day for going through your emails means you’ll be far more productive. As for your phone, you’ll be surprised how much more you can get done by simply removing it from your desk.

alt text Treat yourself At the end of each task give yourself a little break. Whether it's reading an article, going for a coffee or simply taking a short stroll to the water cooler. Then you can tackle your next task with fresh thinking.

Get a head start on conquering that tricky To Do list with a new notebook. Browse through our complete collection here, or leaf through our selection below.