“To do” lists are important tools used for achieving team goals, but if “to do” lists are not done properly, they are useless. Too often, teams create lists that they never come close to completing. There are characteristics that effective “to do” lists share. If the team’s “to do” list includes these basic characteristics, the team will find it easier to accomplish the tasks that they established.
Focus on the Important
The main mistake that teams make when creating “to do” lists is making them too long. It is not possible to place every little task on a “to do” list. For a list to be effective, the team must focus on the important tasks. The best method for making a “to do” list is to create a list of everything the team wants to accomplish and then cut that list down to a manageable size. Remember that an important task will align with the team goals. If a task is not important enough to make the list, do not attempt to squeeze it in later. You do not want to split the team’s attention. Focusing only on the important tasks will help the team complete the “to do” list and reach the team goals.
Chunk, Block, Tackle
When creating a “to do” list, the team should keep chunk, block, and tackle in mind. The first part of this strategy should be familiar. The team needs to break up a large task into smaller ones.
- Chunk: Break projects into tasks that are 15 minutes or less.
- Block: Block out time to complete each chunk.
- Tackle: Tackle each specific task individually rather than looking at the entire project.
Implementing chunk, block, tackle, will motivate your team to complete the project because they will feel a sense of accomplishment as they complete each chunk. When creating the “to do” list, the team should include the project chunks that they created rather than listing the project as a whole. The team should also include the time estimate for each task.
Make It a Habit
The team needs to make “to do” lists regularly for them to be effective. Creating “to do” lists should become a habit for the team. The best way to accomplish this is by creating the team “to do” list at the same time each day. When creating a new “to do” list, the team should transfer any unfinished tasks from the current list to the list for the next day. Once creating the list becomes a habit, it will become faster and easier for the team to revise the “to do” list every day.
“To do” lists will not help the team reach their goals unless they are implemented. Until they are executed, lists are just reminders of what the team still need to accomplish. The key to using lists is to plan ahead. The team should take time to prioritize and schedule the list each day.
How to complete the list:
- Make a schedule: Schedule the tasks on your “to do” list each day.
- Set a timer: Set a timer or an alarm for each task.
- Stay focused: Do not be sidetracked by unimportant tasks.
If the team plans the day around the “to do” list, they will find themselves completing more of the tasks and getting things done.