4 Tips to Help Complete Your To-Do List

Used properly and regularly, to-do lists can be an extremely effective way to keep yourself on track to achieve your goals. Ideally, all we have to do is write down all the things we need to do and then do them. But too often, to-do lists turn into a rotating list of all the things we’ve neglected or failed to accomplish. Use the following tips to help keep yourself on track and achieve the goals you’re working towards!

1. Digital or Tactile?

One of the first steps to achieving your goals is to put them on your to-do list. Some people prefer the tactile, tangible sensation of picking up a pen and writing out their list on a piece of paper—perhaps with check boxes next to the tasks, awaiting their completion. Others may utilize digital lists, preferring to type out goals using apps such as Evernote or Todoist, or shared goal-setting apps such as Avocado. Whatever your personal preference, make sure you’re only using one type of list. Decide on one type of system, or one solitary app, and use it as the place to record every single goal you have. Having multiple lists in different spots can be confusing, and goals can be dropped or forgotten in the shuffle. Keep yourself organized by choosing one route and sticking to it.

2. Organize Your List

One you have decided on a medium for your list, begin to organize it. Make sure that your professional goals are grouped together, away from your personal goals. Consider whether making long- medium- and short-term lists would be effective for you, or whether you prefer one long list with sub-goals listed for each larger goal. For example, a long-term goal may be to plan your upcoming vacation, so your medium-term goals could include booking flights and making hotel reservations, while short-term goals could be looking at flights online and checking out guidebooks from the library for hotel recommendations. Short-term goals should fit into medium-term goals, which should, in turn, fit into your long-term goals.

3. Create Realistic, Achievable Goals

Make sure that the goals you’ve got written down are goals that you can feasibly achieve. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your goals should be rote tasks—after all, to-do lists are meant to help you achieve larger, overarching goals, and should thus challenge you—but make sure that the goals you’re setting down are ones that you are (or will be) actually able to complete. If you’re looking to accomplish a huge goal, break it down into smaller steps that you can check off one by one in order to succeed at the larger goal.

4. Allow Reasonable Timelines

In the same vein, make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to complete your goals. Lifestyle changes or the completion of life-goals are tasks that take time to complete, and you must give yourself adequate time to accomplish them. Don’t push yourself to do too much too quickly, or you may end up with an uncompleted to-do list, which can seem like a failure. Make sure that you are realistic with the time it may take to succeed.