The To-Do List. How Helpful Is It?

It seems like everybody has a to-do list. It probably is one of the most common time management tools used by workers today.

The Good

The lists can be helpful. By jotting down the tasks you need to get done, they become concrete and specific. You can see what you have to do. And, if you take the time to prioritize the tasks on your list, you know what you need to attend to first. You also get to see your progress. As you complete the items on the list, you get to cross them off, which always gives a feeling of satisfaction.

The Bad

But to do lists have their drawbacks as well.

First of all, if you don’t take the time to prioritize the tasks on the list, it’s not easy to tell what the most important and urgent things are, and as a result, you may end up wasting your time on something relatively unimportant or spending too much time on something that doesn’t deserve it.

And time is another element that the to-do list doesn’t cover. It doesn’t tell you how much time you should spend on each task.

Another problem is length. The longer your list, the more overwhelmed you may feel. And the reality is that people seldom get to the tasks that are at the end of the list. That is why organizational experts recommend only having a few items on your list at any one time.

The Not So Ugly — Scheduling

That is why many time management experts recommend using the to-do list in tandem with the calendar. You can begin by drawing up a list of the tasks that you need to do and then prioritizing the tasks on the list. After that, transfer the assignments or tasks to a calendar, scheduling it for a specific date and for a specific period of time depending on its urgency and importance.

By doing this, you can ensure that you are getting to the important tasks first and giving each task the amount of time it deserves.

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