Manage to do list very important for maximum productivity. Imagine the following scenario — you’re writing down your tasks for the day, or week, using a your favorite planner, your wonderfully organized bullet journal or your favorite to-do app. As you add those items to your list, you feel a sense of relief. You’re able to brainstorm exactly what you need to do to get to where you want to be. Work or college assignments, tasks related to personal projects, and even some personal to-dos — they all go in that list.
But as soon as you stop writing, you immediately face several questions where should you start? Is there a correct way to prioritise items in a to-do list? Will tackling a certain task in the list and leaving the others behind ruin your day? Why should you prioritise those items? Shouldn’t all tasks get done eventually, independently of the order you chose? Maybe your solution for this conundrum is simply writing down categorized to-do lists. One for work related tasks, other for chores, other for personal to-dos. You’ll think that if you check something off each one of those lists every single day. You’ll achieved a perfectly balanced, happy life.
Problems of traditional manage to do list
The thing is, that method has two problems — first of all, creating more to-do lists. This means you’re complicating your organization system, making it more difficult to navigate and consequently, harder to implement. Secondly, we aren’t able to tackle our tasks in a perfectly balanced way. You can’t have equal organization systems for parts of your life that are unequal in the amount time and effort they require of you.
Maybe another solution you imagined was simply starting from the top of your to-do list. You probably think you have to get all of them done anyway. So maybe if you start from the top and going progressively down your list, will be as good as any other method. The problem is that not all tasks are equally important — and you know that. By ignoring that fundamental principle and looking past a really relevant deadline and choosing. Instead, to tackle smaller, minor chores, you’ll build upon tension as that deadline will always be on your mind. Soon, you will become frantic and overwhelmed, and ready to throw your notepad out the window. This is why you need to manage to do list.
The system that can help you to manage to do list
The ABCD system is here to help you with that — helping you declutter your overwhelming to-do list. Get your priorities straight, and find some sense out of the chaos of your daily assignments. The ABCD system works for *anyone* – for a highschool or college student, someone who works a 9-to-5 job, a stay-at-home mom, a business owner, etc. It’s a universal method that’s almost ridiculously simple to use. But, when implemented, will probably become one of the staples of your time management system forever.
The Solution – The ABCD System
So first of all, **ditch the categorized to-do list**s. You need one list only, even if it has hundreds of items in it. Think of this list as your brain dump. There are three main principles you should remember when categorizing your tasks from A to E
- (1) importance
- (2) consequences
- (3) delegation.
The way you categorize your tasks will have these three criteria in mind. Best way to manage to do list
A — Tasks
A tasks are the most important tasks. They have a *lot* of meaning to you, because they allow you to progress in your life, career, or personal projects. Not doing A tasks usually means you’ll have to deal with bad consequences not meeting a deadline set by your boss, or not studying all chapters before an exam. They are also tasks you aren’t able to delegate.
B — Tasks
B tasks aren’t as personally important to you. But not tackling them may have negative consequences and you can’t delegate them. They are things like sending out tax forms, ordering groceries, working out, calling a friend or paying the bills. They don’t necessarily help you get closer to your goals. But forgetting to order groceries means you’ll have no food in the fridge, not paying the bills. That means you’ll have a fine associated with that, and so forth.
C — Tasks
C tasks are important to you and can’t be delegated. But there isn’t a really defined negative consequence in postponing them or actually not accomplishing them. Think of C tasks as taking coding lessons because you’re curious about it, doing extra research for a personal project, reorganizing your desk at work, etc.
D — Tasks
D tasks aren’t important in order to reach your goals. They don’t really pose any terrible consequence for you, but you can’t delegate them. And only you can tackle them anyway. They are a bit more residual but they still should have a place on your to-do list. For instance, purchasing a new sweater, reading a novel that has nothing to do with your job, or any other personal project, testing out a new recipe or planting something new in your indoor garden.
They are fun and enjoyable, but postponing or not doing those tasks won’t impact your schedule. Remember that D tasks aren’t supposed to be tasks related to your routine. Self-care is important, and tasks related to your morning and unwinding routine aren’t D tasks. D tasks should be something extra, something outside of your daily routine and schedule.
E — Tasks
Finally, there are also E tasks. These tasks may have negative consequences or not, but you can actually delegate them to someone else — a friend, a colleague, or a family member. These should be marked as such because that allows you to start the delegation process as soon as possible.
Also, understand that using the ABCD system comes with great responsibility – before, whenever you had something you needed to do, you would jot it down on your list, and that was it. Now, you should categorize each task immediately with the corresponding letter when you’re writing it down — even if it’s something you want to do next week, or next year.
The idea here is to add that mindfulness from the beginning and avoiding different interpretations according to your mood and procrastination levels further down the road. As you add the task to your brain dump, remember to categorize it from A to E. Use ABCD system to manage to do list effectively.
Manage to do list: How to select tasks
Now that you’ve categorized your tasks, let’s learn how to pick them. Ideally, you should begin by tackling a full or partial A task every single day. Making progress towards your immediate and most important goals on a daily basis is great for your motivation and allows you to feel less overwhelmed about these tasks, as they are usually longer, more difficult to accomplish, and have long-term consequences in your career, academic results or personal life.
You can either choose to break down an A task into smaller chunks like A1, A2, A3 and so forth, and schedule one of those subtasks on a daily basis, or, if the nature of the A task allows it, you can simply set out a time every single day to tackle that task.
For instance, if you’re writing a report, you can either break down Task A – Write a report into A1 – write chapter 1; A2 – write chapter 2, etc, or you can simply consider Task A to be – Write report for one hour, and repeat it as long as needed. After you finish your Task A, you should move to Task B.
After you finish Task B, you should move to Task C. You see where this is going, right? When you write down your daily to-do list in the morning, or in the evening for the following day, my recommendation is to include at least one task from A to D — a total of four tasks. This is the way to manage to do list productively.
But here’s the most important thing you need to remember — when you schedule four tasks, from A to D, you don’t *really* need to accomplish all of them in that specific day. The only tasks you really need to accomplish are A and B, because avoiding them will bring negative consequences.
If you accomplish Task A, you already had a great day — you actually worked on something that will get you closer to your goals. You were able to add some B tasks in as well, you should definitely pat yourself on the back, as you just avoided a lot of stress. Keep this method on mind to manage to do list.
If you still had time and energy to go for Task C and D, that’s absolutely amazing! In fact, the great thing about the ABCD system is that it works with compound motivation. As you start with the most difficult tasks, you get the motivation to go for the less difficult and less creative ones.
As you establish that completing A and B is already a major success, accomplishing C and D will be even more amazing, making you more excited to face the next day, and continuing tailoring your routine and work life according to your own priorities.