A List of How To List Your Lists.

Lists. We love them. We hate them. They make things easier while simultaneously frustrating us to no end. Like it or not, they’re a great way of focusing on your productivity, and here is a list of list tips to help you get started!

1. Structural Thinking Have a blank template ready for your lists. This can help jump start the process.

2. A Well-Honed Day-to-Day To-Do List This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to bungle this simple step. The key is being honest about what you can realistically tackle in one business day.

3. Limit Yourself Try to keep your list to 3-4 items MAX! You want to set yourself up for victory as easily as possible.

4. Go in Order Once you’ve figured out what you’ll be working on, try to stick to the order you have on the page. It will force you to work through problems and not skip to something easier or more enjoyable.

5. Delegate! Anything that can be succinctly explained in 4 steps or less, you can hand off to someone else!

6. Think Long Term While you’re sizing up what you can accomplish today, make a list of things you know are “bigger ticket” goals. That’s your long term to do list.

7. Weigh Up Going back to your standard daily to-do list, be realistic and pick 3-5 items on that list that can be moved to another day. We all tend to over-estimate what we’ll be able to accomplish in a day!

8. Zoom In Some items on your daily list might be entire projects in and of themselves. Break those projects down and detail what a full list of steps might be to get it done. Making out a plan like that can help you define the scope of the project and give you a good idea of what can be delegated.

9. Buzzwords Have handy a short (2-5) list of “buzzwords” for your day. These can be ideas or terms you’ve been thinking about or working on. As you go through your day, take a look at how these words apply to what you’re doing, or who you’re talking to, right now. This will help you keep focused and may provide some surprising insights!

10. Don’t Get Too Attached Most importantly, while making a list and getting to put those sweet little check marks next to items on it is a deeply satisfying thing, try not to be too hard on yourself if few (or none!) of your to-do items get completed. Remember, a list is just a guide and life tends to happen.