Every day brings new projects, emails, documents, and task lists, and often it is not that different from the work you have done before. Many of our day-to-day tasks are similar to something we have done before.
For many college students, the first big project, be it a research paper, oral presentation, or creative work, is a big challenge. Sometimes these projects are worth a considerable percentage of your total semester grade, and your professors expect you to spend a lot of time on them. They can tell when a big project is hastily put together a day or two before it is due, and they will grade accordingly. There can be so much to do for a big project that the assignment may seem overwhelming.
The trick to getting a big project done is to break it up into smaller projects that are steps along the road to completion. Creating these steps makes a big job less intimidating, helps you plan how much time you need to finish the project, and clearly defines progress as you work through each step.
This to-do list planning form can help you with this process.
First, divide the project into steps, each with its own deadline. For an example, see page 2 of this document. A long research paper has been broken down into three steps: deciding on a topic, researching it, and writing the paper. Each step has then been broken down into smaller steps, again with completion deadlines. The checkboxes can be used to indicate when each step of the project is done. Use the to do list which you may copy for planning more than one project or projects that comprise more than three steps. You can add as many additional pages as needed to capture all of the steps in your project.
Shift incomplete tasks to next week’s list:
A = urgent, must do early this week
B = important, do by midweek
C = will be urgent later; don't forget this!
Many to-do lists allow you to sort or arrange your tasks to keep it organized your way. Some people tend to finish the easy things first, and delay the inevitably time-consuming, bigger tasks, and end up overwhelmed and demotivated when they have to face it. What we recommend is: You should definitely leverage on this by arranging tasks in order of priority — which tasks are more urgent to be completed, or to get started on right now?
Sooner or later, you may feel that you are being overwhelmed with your daily private and working life. You are in search of a better balance. The first thing you could easily do is by creating ways to be better organized while staying productive. Although you need to be on top of things, you best do that step by step. The list goes on. Consider these super effective tips and hacks to get the most out of your to-do list and avoid being counter-productive with it:
- Never have more than 5 to 7 activities;
- Break it into two lists: To-do’s, and Dailies;
- Use checklists to keep up with details;
- Do the difficult tasks first and accomplish the most important work on time and overcome the most meaningful obstacles at any given time;
- Prioritizing your important tasks like this lets you always be effective;
- Focus on only one thing at a time;
- Maintain a checked to-do list
- Keep your list accessible
- Make sure you finish most, ideally all, of your items on the list each day.
- Use gamification to stay motivated, find pleasant to-do list items to get you motivated for more;
- Set reminders or deadlines;
- Set your heart out and the right mindset to be better.
While a to-do list may be most effective at helping you stay organized, done lists excel at keeping you motivated. By being able to view how much you have already accomplished, there’s a psychological effect that keeps you going for more. When you read this list, you might think: "Many modern project and team management methodologies (eg: agile sprints, scrums, lean, prince2, etc)" encourage members to break down their tasks into detail as much as possible to be more efficient — essentially exercising the same philosophies applied here.
We provide a smart To Do List template with text and formatting as a starting point to help professionalize the way you are working. If time or quality is of the essence, this ready-made template can help you to save time and to focus on the topics that really matter!
Using this Things To Do List template guarantees you will save time, cost and efforts! It comes in Microsoft Office format, is ready to be tailored to your personal needs. Completing your document has never been easier!