Enjoy Summer by Maximizing Your Time with a To-Do List
Have more control over your time and own your schedule so that you can enjoy some time off by making sure you stay up to date on your to-do list.
Create a daily to-do list to ensure you take the right steps and complete the necessary tasks. Plan tomorrow’s tasks the evening before to minimize distractions and ensure you get work done.
Plan your entire day and include the small details such as taking 5-minute or 10-minute breaks between tasks. Know what you want to accomplish on any given day and make room for interruptions. If something important and unplanned requires your attention, find a way to attend to it while still getting crucial tasks done.
Schedule breaks in between chunks of work, especially when carrying out difficult tasks that require high levels of concentration or physical strength.
If you have trouble just getting started, use a version of the Pomodoro Technique by Francesco Cirillo.
Work on a specific task for 25 to 30 minutes without taking a break. Make a concerted effort to give it your undivided attention, and then take a 5-minute break. This is an effective way to improve your focus and do the work you want to accomplish.
A group of friends and I take the Pomodoro Technique to a different level to combat procrastination and increase accountability. We schedule a Zoom call for 2 hours. We spend the first 5 minutes catching up.
We describe the tasks we need to accomplish in the first 25-minute time period, such as:
“I am going to finish drafting this proposal.”
“I am going to make my outbound sales calls.”
“I am going to write copy for my next marketing piece.”
These are usually activities that we do not like doing (thus the need for the Pomodoro), and this makes sure we can get them off our to-do list.
We start the 25-minute clock, turn our microphones on mute, and keep our cameras turned on.
The reason this works is that we all state what we were going to do, and then we promise to report back on our progress after 25 minutes. Everyone can see what we are all doing, and everyone must tell the group what they did during that time, so it is instant visual and results-oriented accountability.
At the end of the first 25-minute period, we all turn our microphones back on and tell each other what we accomplished. Then we start the next 25-minute clock and repeat the process.
This is a terrific way to stop procrastinating on a few key tasks while maintaining a sense of connection with others.
The Pomodoro Technique is not what I use for micro-tasks. Micro-tasks are those things that we all need to do, but because they are so small, they often do not make it on our calendar or our to-do list. Micro-tasks can be challenging because they are easy to forget. They fall through the cracks because they are so small. Then we lose sleep at night because we suddenly remembered that we did not do them.
Include micro-tasks in your daily schedule (so you do not forget) and attend to them as early as possible (so you don’t forget) and added the follow-up to your calendar (so you don’t forget).
If you need to remind a client or a business partner about tomorrow’s meeting, add it to your schedule or do it now. Call or send the quick emails when you do not need much thinking time to complete them, or plan micro-tasks into your day.