Effective To-Do List Techniques Backed by Science

By Elisi Studios

A large portion of the people who make to do lists actually fail at completing them. 

Whether it’s because they get overwhelmed or don’t think the method works, chances are they aren’t using the right to do list techniques. 

Task lists have been proven to optimize productivity. They provide structure to our daily lives and make getting things done easy. At the end of the day, looking back at the crossed off tasks boosts confidence and motivation.

If you want to get the most out of your lists, read on to learn the most effective to do list techniques. 

Develop and Prioritize

The first step is to create a to do list in the first place. Simply write down everything you would like to get done throughout the week.

Now you need to prioritize these items. This is where people tend to go wrong.

Choose the most important or time-sensitive items and move them to the top of the list. 

Make Manageable Chunks

Now that you’ve made your list you might be feeling overwhelmed. There’s a lot to do and some tasks just seem too large. 

This is where chunking comes into play. Take those large, scary tasks and break them down into smaller pieces or steps. 

Using a project managing app with sub-task features like Elisi can help with this. 

Now it’s just a matter of getting those smaller chunks done one step at a time. They don’t all need to be completed at once or even in the same day. 

Breaking down tasks this way has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and prevent procrastination. 

Time Yourself

One of the most effective to do list techniques is to time yourself. But don’t worry, it’s not a race. 

Remember those tasks and sub-tasks discussed earlier? Now you’ll simply assign an amount of time to each task. 

Make sure that you think about how long each task would reasonably take you to complete and make your best guess. 

Now, when you start that task, restrict the time spent on that item to the amount you assigned for it. This will encourage you to get it done faster and without distraction. If you don’t quite finish, save it until the rest of the items are completed or move it to the next day. 

Never Multitask

Multitasking may seem like the solution to all your problems, but it’s quite the opposite. 

Studies show that multitasking actually negatively affects performance in terms of quality and quantity. 

Instead, stick to individual chunks and the times allotted to them.  

Stay Realistic

Another reason people struggle with making lists is that they become overwhelmed by the number of tasks they assign themselves each day. 

This is why it’s imperative to be as realistic as possible when assigning time to each task. 

It’s also important to be realistic when assigning the number of tasks for each day.

A sign this is a problem for you is that there are almost always several tasks that get pushed back to the next day.

If you do think you’re being realistic and this is happening anyway, it’s a good time to try out a habit tracking bullet journal. This will reveal what bad habits might be impacting your productivity. 

Put These Effective To Do List Techniques to Use

To do lists are used by successful individuals everywhere. The key is knowing how to use them properly. 

Effective to do list techniques to practice include prioritizing tasks, creating sub-tasks, assigning time slots, never multitasking and always staying realistic. 

A good rule of thumb is to evaluate what does and doesn’t work for you so that you can increase your productivity. 

If you found this article helpful, be sure to try out our productivity app Elisi