We’ve all got ‘em: the dreaded to-do lists. Whether you keep yours on your phone, taped to your fridge, or locked firmly in your head, you can always be more organized and efficient when managing your list. ChooseWhat’s Research Analyst Adam Malden learned the hard way that being diligent with a to-do list was the only way he would be able to “perform to the best of [his] abilities.”
“I wasn’t always so organized, but once I got hired by ChooseWhat I knew I had to adopt a system to manage all the information given to me,” Malden says. “The right organization is paramount to success at your job.”
So what can you do to stay more organized at work? Read Malden’s tips below.
Write It Down
First things first: you HAVE to write it down. A written (or typed) list gives you a tangible record of what you need to do rather than just an imaginary list in your head. “You might think you can remember everything that people ask you to do, but there will always be something that slips by you,” Malden says. “Make sure it’s not something important that slips by.”
Keep It All in One Place
Use only one or two systems to record tasks and events. For example, keep all of your appointments on your calendar and all of your assignments on a notepad or in your phone. That way you can worry about executing these tasks rather than having to remember what they are or where they’re located.
If you start putting some of your appointments on your phone calendar, some on your computer calendar and some on your desk calendar, chances are you might forget something eventually. So, use the fewest number of systems to keep track of tasks.
Always Have Your List with You
You can’t easily jot down tasks and assignments if you don’t have your list with you at all times. If you go into an appointment or a meeting, have your list on you. “If you say, ‘Oh, I’ll write that down when I get back to my desk,’ chances are you will forget it,” Malden says.
This is especially important if someone tells you something in the middle of a conversation because it’s easy to miss or forget details unless you write it down.
Update Your List Consistently
If you keep all of your to-do items in one place and you always have your list with you, you have to be diligent with writing everything down. “My best piece of advice is to always be consistent and maintain your to-do list every day. Make it a habit,” Malden says.
Start and End Your Day with Your List
Start every day by looking at your list from the day before. Chances are that you didn’t finish everything that you needed to yesterday, and, typically, after going home the night before you probably forgot the details of what you needed to do.
And, just as starting your day with your list is incredibly important, it’s also vital to end your day with reviewing your list. Check off things you completed! Doesn’t it feel good? Write down notes of things you need to accomplish the next day. Don’t wait ‘til the next day; get it all down before you walk out the door.
- Tadalist.com is an easy to-do list tool that you can even use to share with others.
- iPhone apps, such as ToDo or Remember the Milk
Remember that being organized is essential to performing your job well. “Being organized is important because the one time you forget to write something down, it’s going to be a huge mistake,” Malden says.
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