If there aren’t enough hours in a day to complete your to-do list, it’s time to shake things up. Today, we would like to introduce you to our very own organisation queen, Amelia Carey.
Amelia is our Client Manager, and her reign at Orbit is crucial in maintaining all the communication between our clients and team. Amelia is like the conductor of an orchestra, keeping the ensemble members in sync and on time. However, instead of communicating through hand gestures, Amelia uses cloud accounting and other digital tools.
When Amelia first began her journey at Orbit, she arrived equipped with a paper diary, an addiction to the print button and a lot of tip-ex for any updates or changes. It only took a month for Amelia to ditch the pen and paper and make the switch to digital for all of her day-to-day organisation.
It’s safe to say Amelia has never looked back and now she is here to share her top tips for mastering your to-do list.
The life-changing magic of tidying up your to-do list.
Find your personal style.
First things first, you need to find software and a process that works for you. To-do lists come in all shapes and sizes, and like exercising, the best type is the one you can stick to. There is a huge range of digital applications out there to choose from and they range in complexity and features, including Trello, Todoist and Asana just to name a few. As cloud accountants we also love Xero projects, as not only is great to manage your to-do list and projects but it also integrates with your accounting system too.
I use the Kanban method, which is a visual board that helps you manage the workflow of your individual tasks as well as your team, clients and potentially your organisation. On the other hand, Kate, Orbit’s Co-founder and Head of Technology finds that the five-step Getting Things Done (GTD) method works best for her. The GTD method allows Kate to offload tasks on her mind and then clarify, organise, review, and engage in all of them.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
We all have a never-ending to-do list, such is life. Though, before reminiscing on your childhood, void of responsibilities, I recommend making multiple lists to break your tasks down.
Now take a deep breath because we are starting with your master list. This means everything, absolutely everything, that you need to do. It might seem overwhelming but trust me, it feels great to get everything down on paper and out of your head.
We can then move on to breaking it down into digestible chunks for today, this week and this month. All of those items on the master list that didn’t make the cut will be out of sight and out of mind until it’s their time to be actioned.
When creating these to-do lists, you’ll notice that not all to-dos are created equally. In fact, you may have a few tasks that need to be completed immediately and cannot risk losing sight of them. This is where the final list comes into play, your high impact task list, where you can note down your most pressing tasks.
Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of what needs to be actioned and when it needs to be completed, let’s hone in on the details.
Focus on what matters most.
Sometimes, we want to smash out all the smaller items so we can give ourselves a pat on the back for bulldozing through so many tasks. There’s no judgement here, it is after all a productive form of procrastination, but you can’t run away from your Very Important Tasks (VITs) forever.
This is why you are going to revisit your daily to-do list and highlight all of your VITs, or if you are using a digital planner there should be a priority section. This way you can ensure you are highlighting what has to be completed today and don’t go astray by emptying the dishwasher or mindlessly scrolling TikTok instead.
Highlighting your VITs prevents you from procrastination and gets the big scary stuff out early, like going on the largest roller coaster in the park first. So before you go putting out a load of laundry or refreshing your email for the fifth time today, make sure those highlighted sections are ticked off.
That being said, sometimes starting small can motivate us to face the larger tasks. Occasionally, when I feel unmotivated, I start with something small like ‘fold these clothes’. It can spark a snowball effect by creating that sweet sense of achievement when you’re having an off day.
Don’t overcomplicate it.
If you find yourself spending more time on your to-do list than completing some of those tasks, your system might be a tad too extravagant. The trick is to keep your list simple because that is what it is there to do, simplify your life.
On that note, don’t try and move mountains day in and day out. Rome wasn’t built in a day, we need to be realistic with our time or your excessively long daily to-dos will cause you additional stress. So leave some time to go for a walk on your lunch break and smell the roses.
Better yet, make your to-do list work to your strengths. Early birds, calendarise your VITs to be completed in the early morning. Night owls, switch your VITs to the last task of the day.
Give yourself a pat on the back.
There is a reason teachers hand out gold stars, rewards are motivating. Create a reward system that goes hand in hand with your task management, especially for those high impact tasks you’ve been putting off. Whether it’s a cookie or a concert, if you are flying through your to-dos day after day, treat yourself.
Keep yourself accountable.
If your to-do list is still sending your head spinning, you don’t have to do it all alone. Share your list with someone else, a friend, a co-worker, your spouse, whoever it is, make sure they are supportive and can help you stay on track. Better yet, ask for help when you need it and delegate!
The cloud technology, automation, processes and productivity hacks we’ve implemented at Orbit allow us to pursue our own private and professional dreams … while also saving for the special stuff. If you want to find out the tools that will help you make more possible, book a chat or get in touch today.