How to master the art of an effective 'to-do' list

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Image: Getty
Image: Getty

List making has more benefits than most people know and if you learn to do it right, this practise can actually make you healthier, happier, calmer and possibly even better-off financially.

List making is not just a matter of getting things down on paper or into a digital device, when you make a list of everything that is occupying your mind or distracting you, you can then identify which items can be delegated to others or done in the future. Most people feel stressed at the thought of everything on the to-do list as a whole, but if you break it down, you often find that a lot of items don't actually need to be done today, or even by you at all.

If you take those items that are to be done in the future and put them into some form of time planning system - you will reduce your stress levels, feel more calm and productive. When you learn to delegate as much as possible you can become more productive, in many cases increasing your income. It can even impact on your overall health; reducing tension can make for much better digestion and sleep.

 Dr John Demartini, human behaviourist, shares some steps on how to make lists so they will help your whole life:

List out everything you need to do

Break tasks down wherever possible. i.e. "Organise office function" could be a series of smaller action steps like: send out invites, collate RSVPS, organise catering, find entertainment etc. When you chunk down large projects, objectives or goals into lists of smaller bite-sized daily action steps, you decrease procrastination, inertia, lack of clarity and frustration and increase your accomplishments.

Go through your list and look for anything that can be done by others

Put this on a separate list to delegate once you have finished (make sure you do delegate as soon s possible). You can remove a large portion of your stress just by doing this.

Be honest about how urgent things really are

Make a list of everything that actually has to be done today. Once you have finished all your list making, put the master list away till tomorrow and just focus on what needs to be done in the immediate 12 hours. This becomes a daily accountability check list too and by constantly reviewing it, implementing things and checking them off, you increase the probability of living a more productive life and feeling greater self worth and accomplishment

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