To Do List Template

In this post we’ll discuss one of the most important tools of productivity, the infamous to do list. I’ll also include a printable template for a to do list which can be downloaded by all premium members. Be sure to read the entire post as well as watch the short tutorial video to get the most benefit.

Before we can start however, we need to define the term to do list.

What’s a To Do List?

A to do list, also called task list is a simple way of organizing the things you need to get done. Most of us have some experience with writing to do lists, however few people have actually thought about how to use them in an efficient manner, utilizing its full potential. In this post we’ll cover the basics of to do lists as well as offer some deeper insights.


What you’ll need

1

Paper

A piece of paper, simple and affordable. I recommend you to download the to do list template provided in this post, it will save you the time and energy of doing it yourself.

2

A pen/pencil

It’s been around for thousands of years and still as good as always. I personally would recommend that you use a regular pencil for these purposes. That way you’ll be able to erase, edit and add new entries as you go.

3

Objectives

A clear idea of the things needed to be planned for. A to do list is no good if it’s only partial. If you want your to do list to be as effective as possible you’ll need to first have a very clear picture of the things that you need to have done and at what date they need to be finished. Also, you’ll need to know the scope of the project, is it small, medium or large? When is the deadline, what happens if the deadline is not met? These are important parameters that have to be taken into consideration before you can write everything down.

Further Tips

1

Step by Step

Don’t feel overwhelmed with all the things ahead of you. Remember the old Chinese proverb that says; “A journey of 10,000 miles starts with one step.

2

Be like a Train

The train keeps on moving, each day and every hour you see it travel to its destinations. Be sure to get into the habit of finishing your tasks, anyone with a hand can write them down.

3

Incentives

If you’re having a difficulty in getting your tasks done maybe it could be wise to start offering yourself incentives. You could for instance say; if I finish task “x” and “y” you will get “z”.

4

Break it up

If the tasks are too large in scope, break them up into smaller easier tasks.

5

See the larger picture

There’s a famous parable of two construction workers, both engaged in building the same wall but with different mindsets. When asked about what they are doing the first one says; “I am building a stone wall”. The other however answers “I am building a hospital”. You need to remind yourself of you why are doing these tasks to begin with. Are you learning Laplace Transforms or are you becoming an engineer. The same holds true for any educational or profession.

Project Management Plan

June 9, 2010  |  Time Management  |  1 Comment

We all have projects that need to be finished, some have more than others. In order to successfully execute a project one needs a project plan, an outline of the entire project which will work as a blue print for the tasks at hand. If you haven’t made one already this article will help you with the journey towards outlining your project. How to get it from a rather loose idea in your head into an actual readable report. In simple words, how to make a project management plan. Read More

How To Be Effective

June 5, 2010  |  Time Management  |  10 Comments

How do you become more effective in your work or in your studies? Well, to answer that question we would first need to understand the causes of the ineffectiveness. You can’t start treatment before the diagnosis. Here are four important aspects of effectiveness to keep in mind: Read More

Task List

November 21, 2009  |  Time Management  |  2 Comments

Have you ever gone somewhere only to forget what you were doing there in the first place? A great way to avoid such problems is by writing a daily “to do list” also referred to as a task list.

A task list works somewhat as an inventory tool/alternative memory, it helps you to remember things without remembering them (i.e cognitively speaking).

Download Our To Do List

A good task list will enable your mind to forget about the particular things you wrote down in order to focus on other, perhaps more important issues.

Benefits

Blue Arrow Helps you stake out your goals.
Blue Arrow Saves time, energy and stress.
Blue Arrow Gives you something more to rely on than just your memory.

Methodology

There are two good ways to format your task list and they could be combined.

The first way of doing it is by applying the so called ABC method. You divide your tasks into those that go under the ‘A’ category (tasks that should be accomplished within a day) the ‘B’ category (accomplished withing a week) and ‘C’ category (withing a month) and so forth. You can expand or reduce the set of categories (as well as edit their respective time frame) to what suits your situation.

Another way formatting your task list is by assigning each task a number in accordance to its importance. The number “1” is the highest priority while 2 is less important and so on. If you for instance give the reading of my blog a number 1 and eating breakfast a number 2,
then this means that reading the blog precedes eating breakfast; the smaller the number > the more highly prioritized it is (and reading my blog is of course highly prioritized).

Further Notes

Get Yourself a Weekly Calendar: These are great to help you keep track on what to do and when to do what. Remember to classify each task into its relevant category, all educational related tasks go under one category, all the personal to another and so forth.

Digital Task Lists: If you tend to sit on the computer a lot then you might want to consider making your desktop background into a to do list (the writing of this article was on my desktop to do list), if you would like to do this without changing your present background you could always divide the picture into two halves. One half showing today’s tasks and the other showing your background picture. An easier and more effective way is to simply download Google sidebar, it comes with a to do list in widget form and it’s very easy to customize.

How To Mind Map

November 21, 2009  |  How to, Time Management  |  5 Comments

A mind map is a type of (radial) diagram that contains words, ideas or tasks that are linked around a central idea or keyword.

A mind map can be drawn by hand or by means of a computer, before a particular lesson, while attending the class or even after the lecture has finished.

Popular Usage

Blue Arrow Solving problems
Blue Arrow Brainstorming
Blue Arrow Note taking
Blue Arrow Resolutions
Blue Arrow Planning

Benefits

Gives you a good overview of important points and keywords (such as dates, facts or figures).
Organizes your topic in a way that let’s you write less and understand more. Thus making your studies more efficient.

Methodology

Always start out by placing your main idea or keyword in the center and then start pondering about anything that might relate to that keyword. List all the things you came up with on a piece of paper (not on the actual mind map) and then write them all down on the mind map by interlinking each idea to an appropriate category.

Remember that each line should carry only one keyword or one image and they should be of the same length as the keyword or image.

Obviously, there’s more than one way of mind mapping since the technique itself is very subjective. So even though I mention ways to form your mind map in this article, you should only take them as guidelines and nothing more. It’s more important that you develop your own style in order to fit your specific needs.

I recommend emphasizing certain elements in your mind map such as using different colors to make the mind map more vivid and easier to digest.

Let your ideas flow

Make sure that you don’t kill any of your ideas at the beginning. It’s a common problem that people try to edit their ideas before they’ve done collecting them. You can remove, edit and add as much as you’d like after you’ve finished listing them all.

Keep it clean

Another common mistake is to scramble in as much information as possible without keeping the format. If your mind map looks like clutter, you wont be able to understand it (maybe at the present moment but certainly not in the future). Finally, mind mapping is something you do to help yourself. Make sure that you can understand and interpret your own thoughts even if no one else understands it.

ou’ll find that it makes things so much easier. Look at the classes you have to attend, work out the time that you need to get to them and then set a realistic time every day so it almost becomes like part of your daily timetable. And how much studying do you need to do?

Well you can use a formula that goes something like this: for every hour of class, put in an hour and a half to two hours of study. Why the difference? Well, some of you might read much more quickly than others, some might take a longer time to absorb the same material. So it figures!

Just keep in mind that very often the ones who are slower tend to remember for longer, so it evens out! If you can study soon after your class, that makes it even better because everything is fresh in your mind.

Do take a quick break in between to relax. And remember – don’t push yourself. If you begin over scheduling your study hours, you’ll find yourself overexerting and that doesn’t really work too well in the end.

Manage Your Time

November 21, 2009  |  Time Management  |  72 Comments

Try and set a specific time to study every day and you’ll find that it makes things so much easier. Look at the classes you have to attend, work out the time that you need to get to them and then set a realistic time every day so it almost becomes like part of your daily timetable. And how much studying do you need to do?

Well you can use a formula that goes something like this: for every hour of class, put in an hour and a half to two hours of study. Why the difference? Well, some of you might read much more quickly than others, some might take a longer time to absorb the same material. So it figures!

Just keep in mind that very often the ones who are slower tend to remember for longer, so it evens out! If you can study soon after your class, that makes it even better because everything is fresh in your mind.

Do take a quick break in between to relax. And remember – don’t push yourself. If you begin over scheduling your study hours, you’ll find yourself overexerting and that doesn’t really work too well in the end.

Where to study

You probably will think it doesn’t matter but it does! We’re talking about the place you choose to sit and study. How do you know you’ve chosen well? Well, let’s tell you how to choose so you can concentrate on your studies and don’t get disturbed or distracted. Let’s go through a process of elimination first.

Don’t choose a place that may not be available always to you. Don’t go park yourself in a place where you know you will be interrupted or distracted. And don’t choose a place that’s either too hot or too cold or your mind’s going to be on the temperature, not on your books! Now for the ‘dos’.

Make sure the place you choose is well-lit and airy so it’s a pleasure to be in, not a drudge. Find yourself a comfortable chair – but not too comfortable so you fall asleep! Keep all your study material at hand so you don’t have to go up and down searching for it.

And try and have a large work area or desk so all your material is close by. Keep it neat so there is enough space for you to write comfortably. And last but not least, lock the door if you can and make sure no-one disturbs you.second. We started in a living room back in 2006 and have been steadily working to build our company into a world-class contender. Today we operate a set of popular marketplaces for digital goods, a family of leading tutorial sites and a series of niche sites and projects.