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Productivity and To-Do Management - How to Get the Most out of To-Do Lists!

Nov 19, 2021    
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In a world where everyone is constantly striving for more productivity, optimizing your time management is essential. However, that doesn't make it easy. If you're sitting on the sofa watching Netflix, you're probably wracked with guilt that you could be doing something more productive. And even when we are doing something productive, like working on that report your boss needs or starting that novel you've been dreaming of writing, we often feel we could be working better - smarter and more efficiently. But how do you translate this desire for increased productivity into action? Let's take a look.

What Is Productivity?

Productivity is frequently defined as the ratio between output and volume if we’re technical about it. In other words, being productive means getting the results you want while putting in less time and effort.

Working with the above definition of productivity should come as no surprise that productivity and time management go hand in hand. You spend more time on fewer tasks without good time management and get poorer results (low productivity). One study by the Harvard Business Review found that an eye-watering 90% of managers waste valuable time due to poor time management. But what exactly is time management?

What is Time Management?

Time management is the task of planning and exercising deliberate control over time spent on specific activities, especially when the goal is to increase productivity or effectiveness.

But what does time management look like in practice? Essentially, it's about how you prioritize your tasks so you ensure you have enough time allocated to complete everything on your to-do list.

The Power of To-Do Lists

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know that to-do lists are heralded as one of the essential productivity and time-keeping tools. However, you may have tried a to-do list app in the past or went old-school and used paper but found it challenging to navigate. Before you decide which to-do list to use and how you want to use it, it helps to remember why they are so powerful in the first place. If you keep the below points in mind when choosing your to-do list, you're much more likely to find one that suits you.

  • Organization - Setting out a clear outline of the tasks you need to complete makes you feel grounded. It can make a large project seem less daunting and allow you to think about how the whole picture comes together.
  • As an External Memory Aid - How many times have you thought, "I don't need to write that down, it's so important that i'll definitely remember it," only to forget it entirely. To-do lists hold you accountable for your promises and ensure nothing is missed.
  • Productivity and Prioritization - With a to-do list, you can quickly review your tasks and prioritize them in order of importance.

Productivity Methods (Getting the Most from Time Management Tools)

Okay, so you've decided that you want to start using to-do lists, but how do you go about this to ensure you get the best results? Although to-do lists can be an excellent way of getting our productive juices flowing, they're not without their faults. With this in mind, here we'll look at a few different ways to combat your to-do list or time management tool without losing track of your goals.

Make Multiple Lists

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by having one giant to-do list. There could be tasks on there that you're actively avoiding, are long-term, or are very difficult. Moreover, these tasks are mixed in with everyday tasks that take only a few seconds to complete. By creating separate lists, for example, one for non-time-sensitive tasks, one for tasks you need to complete today, and one for tasks you're struggling to tick off, you can take back control of your work.

Using a Calendar as a To-Do List

If you're someone who gets easily overwhelmed by a to-do list, then you might benefit from using a different productivity and time management method altogether. Many people don't realize that you can use your calendar much like a to-do list, organizing your tasks into dedicated time chunks. By doing this, you remove the temptation to leave more complex tasks to last or simply ignore some tasks for today, promising you'll get to them tomorrow.

Using a Time Management Tool

Time management apps offer a more comprehensive time management experience, enabling you to use different productivity tools all in one place. For example, with the TimeCaptis app, you can create to-do lists, organize your calendar, write notes, collaborate with others, and work from any location.

Having a suite of different tools that complement each other empowers you to be more deliberate with task prioritization and ensure everything gets done.

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