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How to write a to-do list

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A to-do list is one of the most popular strategies for tracking tasks and goals. But the problem with an overly ambitious to-do list is that it can overwhelm you and make it hard to prioritize and where to start. Long lists also increase the desire to multitask. Ultimately reduces productivity.

Here’s how to make it short and sweet —and effectively—to-do list.

How long is your to-do list?

A good to-do list (or series of lists) contains 5-10 tasks, with a total of no more than 12. There is no magic number, but Research suggests When presented with more options than that, it can be hard to make a decision.

one strategy Create a list of 5-8 tasks related to work (or school or family) and a list of 2-3 household or personal tasks. Categorizing them separately reduces confusion and helps with prioritization. break down further By tasks that are important, urgent, both, or neither.

Keep your to-do list focused on the day rather than the rest of the week or longer periods. That way, you can complete (or at least try to complete) all of your lists by the end of the day.

Depending on the day, your to-do list may include: Only one task is achievable.

Break it down into smaller tasks or microtasks

A short to-do list should also be clear, specific, and broken down into small, manageable tasks. “Working on a work project” is probably not realistic. Instead, write down specific emails you need to send, meetings you need to schedule, report sections you need to write, and so on.

You can also interrupt an already small To Do to metersmicro task: Log on to your computer, open Gmail, open an email from a colleague, etc. If that’s what motivates you, you might make your entire list a dozen micro-to-dos.

How to write a to-do list

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