to-do lists http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8715/all en-US 6 Ways to Deal When You're Way Behind at Work http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_stressed_work_488912550.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to deal when she&#039;s behind at work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being overwhelmed and falling behind at work may be a universal phenomenon, but it is possible to get back to a solid footing. If you are drowning in incomplete TPS reports, here are six ways you can improve the situation and get your head back above water.</p> <h2>1. Take 20 Minutes Every Morning to Review and Plan</h2> <p>Truly productive people start their mornings by taking 20 minutes to review their calendars and create their to-do lists for the day. This allows them to be prepared for whatever the day ahead has to offer.</p> <p>This is the sort of habit that often goes out the window as soon as a major work deadline looms large. When you are overwhelmed at work, it can be tempting to jump right in as soon as you get to the office. There are fires to put out and meetings to attend, so you don't have the time to plan out your day.</p> <p>But skipping the 20-minute morning review means you are surprised by plans, meetings, or interim due dates that slip your mind while you're focused on the big project. Make sure your morning starts with a plan so that you can prevent today's small deadline from becoming a major problem tomorrow.</p> <h2>2. Say No to More Work</h2> <p>When it comes to optional work projects, the way to say no is simple, but not easy. It's a matter of getting in the habit of saying &quot;My plate is full right now.&quot;</p> <p>However, the harder issue is when your boss is trying to assign you more work on top of what you are already doing. Pushing back against such an assignment is not simple, and it can feel very uncomfortable.</p> <p>The best way to handle such an addition to your workload is to ask for and provide open communication. Set a meeting with your boss to agree on what your priorities, goals, and objectives are for all of your projects, so it's clear what can and cannot reasonably get done. Request regular progress review meetings so everyone will be clear on what is happening and when. It's important for you and your supervisor to recognize your abilities and limitations and not try to squeeze blood from a turnip.</p> <h2>3. End the Procrastination Cycle</h2> <p>Scientists have found that procrastination has less to do with time than emotion. Chronic procrastinators are often choosing not to start their work because it gives them momentary emotional relief &mdash; but the level of guilt they feel over procrastinating means they are not really improving their emotional state by avoiding the dreaded task.</p> <p>Even the best of us fall victim to procrastination, but chronic procrastinators can find themselves spiraling into an endless procrastination cycle: Putting off a dreaded task makes them feel guilty and ashamed, which causes them to have less cognitive and emotional energy available to be productive, which makes them even less likely to start the task.</p> <p>So how do you end the procrastination cycle?</p> <p>There are two proven methods for interrupting this loop. The first is an <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1467-9280.00441" target="_blank">external deadline</a>. Knowing that you are beholden to another individual is often enough to force you to just get started in order to meet the deadline. If you can't ask your supervisor for hard deadlines, creating self-imposed deadlines is not as effective, but still better than nothing.</p> <p>The second method of interrupting the procrastination loop is to regard your mood as a fixed state. According to a 2001 study by Dianne Tice, students didn't procrastinate when they were primed to believe <a href="https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/why-wait-the-science-behind-procrastination#.WH-4qRsrJPY" target="_blank">their mood was fixed</a> &mdash; but when they thought their mood could change (especially if they thought it could improve), they procrastinated. It can be tough to start your work if you are in a bad mood, but if you just accept that your bad mood is here to stay, you're more likely to roll up your sleeves and get to it.</p> <h2>4. Procrastinate Productively</h2> <p>If you truly feel like you emotionally need to avoid a task that you should be working on, there are far better ways to dodge it than by surfing Facebook. Instead, you should work on another task that may not be as time-sensitive, but still needs to get done.</p> <p>This used to be my favorite way to get homework done in college. When I had a major project due, the days leading up to the due date would often find me working on homework for other classes. This allowed me to feel the emotional relief of procrastination without allowing me to fall into the shame associated with a procrastination cycle.</p> <p>You can also take this habit one step further by creating a <a href="http://ayearofproductivity.com/procrastinate-more-productively/" target="_blank">procrastination list</a>. This idea comes from Chris Bailey, the blogger behind A Year of Productivity. Your procrastination list will include any items you're allowed to work on when you find yourself procrastinating. This will help you to still use your time productively if you procrastinate. Alternatively, if you find that nothing on your procrastination list is appealing, then you are more likely to just get started on the task you'd otherwise avoid.</p> <h2>5. Nip Complaining in the Bud</h2> <p>When you are overwhelmed, it can feel great to complain about your heavy workload to your coworkers, friends, family, and glassy-eyed cashiers who really don't care about your TPS reports. But complaining only offers you momentary relief. If you keep talking about how rough it is, you're likely to make yourself feel even worse about the situation.</p> <p>So if you are tempted to complain about your bozo boss and his unrelenting workload, stop yourself and think about what could be a more constructive use of your conversations. Perhaps you could ask a coworker to help you with a task, or request that your spouse take over school drop-off for the week so you can get to work a few minutes earlier to plan your day. Use your conversations as an opportunity to reduce your sense of being overwhelmed, rather than magnify it by complaining.</p> <h2>6. Get Some Rest</h2> <p>Sleep seems like an easy place to cut back when there are more tasks than hours in the day. But staying up late to finish a project isn't just bad for your health, it's actually counterproductive if you want to get your work done. Not only does lack of sleep make you <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075236" target="_blank">more easily distracted</a>, which means it will take you longer to get your work done, but fatigue can also hurt your job performance.</p> <p>One of the best things you can do to chip away at your seemingly endless to-do list is protect your sleep time. Don't let work encroach on your rest, or you'll find that both your rest and your work are worse off.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance">The 7 Best Free Tools to Improve Your Work Performance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-career-tips-your-younger-self-would-give-you">9 Career Tips Your Younger Self Would Give You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-how-to-meet-a-deadline">Don&#039;t Panic! How to Meet a Deadline</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-important-signs-that-your-job-sucks">10 Important Signs That Your Job Sucks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-never-to-bring-up-in-a-job-interview">5 Things Never to Bring Up in a Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Productivity behind schedule boredom deadlines falling behind planning procrastinating sleep to-do lists work Fri, 27 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1881551 at http://www.wisebread.com Multitasking Sucks Even More Than You Thought http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother-multitasking-78780790-small.jpg" alt="mother multitasking" title="mother multitasking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>College students, corporate executives, and busy moms rely on multitasking to complete their long list of things to do each day. There are papers to read, emails to send, places to be, and much to be accomplished. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work?ref=seealso">The Simple Way Multitasking Can Actually Work</a>)</p> <p>However, a recent study has found that <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-08-10/opinion/ct-oped-0811-multitask-20100810_1_iqs-study-information-overload">multitasking actually lowers your IQ</a>, decreases your productivity, and reduces your ability to make decisions.</p> <p>Imagine for a moment that you are at home, you have kids at the table working on homework, occasionally asking questions about places they are confused, dinner is cooking on the stove, the laundry is going and needs to be pulled out of the dinner before it wrinkles, the baby is getting dangerously close to doing something he's never done before and the phone rings.</p> <p>Your brain is in a few different places.</p> <p>You are multitasking.</p> <p>You are getting things done.</p> <p>However, that multitasking has decreased your brain function slightly and reduced your ability to make a clear decision. So when the nice lady from your child's school calls and asks you to chair a fundraising committee, you commit without being able to give it thorough thought. Later in the evening, when your mind is clearer, you realize what you've committed to and how difficult it is going to be for you to accomplish.</p> <p>Multitasking may feel like the way to accomplish your mile long to-do list but it is actually diminishing the core of your productivity &mdash; your decision making abilities and your brain function.</p> <p>So, what can you do instead?</p> <p>To increase your productivity, focus on your tasks completely, and clear out your to-do list, you need to create an action plan.</p> <h2>Making and Executing an Action Plan</h2> <h3>1. Make a List</h3> <p>Put the most important items on your list at the top. These should be items that must be completed today, followed by items that can be put off, all the way down to items that you'll probably put off until tomorrow but would feel amazing if you completed them today.</p> <h3>2. Highlight Quick Tasks</h3> <p>Those items that only take a quick minute or two to complete, like replying to your mom's email or rescheduling your dentist appointment get highlighted. If you aren't sure how long it will take, for example there is a good possibility you'll be on hold with your credit card company, don't highlight. Just those items you know won't take very long.</p> <h3>3. Turn Off All Distractions</h3> <p>That means your phone gets silenced and placed somewhere so you don't see notifications pop up on the screen, your email gets turned off, Facebook is closed out, turn off the television and get the kids set up with something that will keep them occupied for awhile if needed.</p> <h3>4. Set the Timer</h3> <p>A timer is your best friend when you want to be productive. It gives you a boundary for when you should be working. Set the timer for 20 minutes. During that time, focus all of your mind on one task. Do not allow yourself to become distracted during those 20 minutes.</p> <p>If the timer is still ticking after you've finished a task, move on to the next one on your list. If you only have three or four minutes left on the timer, do one of the items that has been highlighted.</p> <p>Don't forget to cross things off as you complete them. It may seem silly but the simple act of drawing a line through something can be very rewarding.</p> <h3>5. Take Frequent Breaks</h3> <p>After 20 minutes has passed, stop working and reset the timer for five minutes. During this time do not focus on work. Get up and walk around. Fill your water glass. Check on the kids. Do a little jig in the living room to get your blood pumping. Breathe deeply a few times before refocusing on another 20 minutes of work.</p> <p>After three cycles of work, take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes. This is the time when you can check Facebook, check your phone, or gossip with a friend in the next cubicle. Don't forget to have your timer set and do not go over your break time.</p> <h3>6. Assess Your Progress</h3> <p>After your work day (or hour) is complete, assess your to-do list. Determine if there are items that need to be rearranged or crossed off. If it is the end of the day, write a new list for tomorrow before you leave for home.</p> <h2>Productivity Hints</h2> <p>There are a few things you can further do to increase your productivity.</p> <h3>1. Keep It Simple</h3> <p>This is especially true for tasks like organization. Break up larger tasks into smaller, simple ones that will get you moving faster through the project. If you are working on organizing a space, don't get up and relocate every item you touch. Instead, put them into categories (like donate, toss, recycle or living room, kitchen, bedroom) that can they be put away later.</p> <h3>2. Group Like Things Together</h3> <p>If you have a number of similar tasks that need to be done, do them at the same time or one after the other. For example, if you have three phone calls to make, make them in the same 20 minute time frame, or if you have files that need to be delivered throughout the office, deliver them in the same trip.</p> <p>This also works for errands you are running. Combine them so you aren't running across town multiple times wasting your time and energy.</p> <h3>3. Set Yourself Up for Success</h3> <p>Whether it is putting a sign on your door that says &quot;do not disturb,&quot; putting your phone in another room, or hiring a babysitter to occupy your children for two hours, find ways to decrease distractions. This will ensure that you are successful with completing your tasks.</p> <p>If the only danger in trying to do too many things is that you're not able to do any of them terribly well, then it might not be enough to stop multitasking and start focusing on each task individually. Now that we know that it can also make you dumb, it may be time to start slowing down and truly live in the moment.</p> <p><em>Are you still multitasking? Why? If you aren't, what are you doing instead to get things done?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective With These 5 Simple Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-your-projects-always-take-longer-than-you-expect">This Is Why Your Projects Always Take Longer Than You Expect</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-your-life-by-changing-your-bedtime-routine">Change Your Life by Changing Your Bedtime Routine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Productivity multitasking organization productivity tasks to-do lists Thu, 11 Sep 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1207211 at http://www.wisebread.com Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective With These 5 Simple Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/post-its-5320257-small.jpg" alt="post-it notes" title="post-it notes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Our personal to-do lists are the little action plans that get things done in our day-to-day worlds. I'm a firm believer in the power of lists and am not embarrassed to admit that I'd be lost without my own little index of tasks every day. I find making my list to be an exercise in reflection and organization, and I feel supremely satisfied when I'm able to add a big, bold check-mark and turn even the smallest <em>to-do</em> into a <em>done</em>!</p> <p>But any system can stand some improvement. If you feel like your to-do list has become more of a wish-list lately, here are five ways to make it more powerful and effective. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list">How to Create a Reasonable To-Do List</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Emotional</h2> <p>We all know that each item on our to-do lists matters, but that doesn't mean they're all equal. By following <a href="https://medium.com/understandings-epiphanies/a88ad971cef8">this technique detailed by Robyn Scott</a> and attaching an emotion to each item on our list, we can better prioritize and subtly motivate ourselves toward the positive feeling that completion brings. How will washing your car make you feel &mdash; more comfortable? Relieved? What about finally organizing those wedding photos &mdash; accomplished? Proud? At peace? Consider the power of emotion as not only a motivator and a driver; make basking in the emotion part of your reward as each to-do is checked off. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-maintain-motivation-when-the-going-gets-tough">9 Ways to Maintain Motivation</a>)</p> <h2>2. Attach a Reward</h2> <p>Physical rewards work. Though we often reserve them for kids and pets, treats motivate adult humans, too. Attach a commensurate reward with each task you accomplish. Maybe finally picking up the dry-cleaning earns you a cappuccino, or each day of sticking with your exercise routine gets you a 15 minute nap after dinner. Make every reward something you'll truly appreciate, and try to consciously enjoy each one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to Reward Yourself</a>)</p> <h2>3. Ditch Those Vague Verbs</h2> <p>Take the corporate-speak out of your to-do list. Verbs like &quot;implement,&quot; &quot;explore,&quot; &quot;plan,&quot; &quot;discuss,&quot; and &quot;touch-base&quot; turn actionable to-dos into fuzzy undones.</p> <p>Precise language helps us understand what needs to be accomplished and lets us know when we've accomplished it. If it helps, break larger, more ambiguous verbs into smaller and simpler ones:</p> <ul> <li>Replace &quot;plan&quot; with &quot;draft&quot;</li> <li>Replace &quot;touch base&quot; with &quot;meet&quot;</li> <li>Replace &quot;discuss&quot; with &quot;call.&quot;</li> </ul> <p>If you still feel foiled by vague verbs, attach a time-limit like &quot;meet for 15 minutes&quot; or &quot;brainstorm ideas for half an hour.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Create Dependencies</h2> <p>For the more significant tasks on our to-do lists, it's important to understand the smaller tasks that support it. For instance, if you'd like to complete your taxes by the end of next week (a doozie on anyone's list, to be sure), begin by working backwards. What does that large task depend on, and how could breaking it down into bite-sized daily to-dos make it seem less intimidating? Maybe Monday and Tuesday will be devoted to organizing receipts, maybe Wednesday will be reserved for reviewing deductions, and Thursday will be all about crunching the numbers and preparing to file. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-quick-tips-for-organizing-your-finances">6 Tips for Organizing Your Finances</a>)</p> <p>Make each sub-task a small but essential part of daily to-do list and by Friday, that dragon you have to slay will seem more like a harmless little toad.</p> <h2>5. Identify the MVTs</h2> <p>Not every task on our to-do list carries the same weight or importance. As you determine what's on each day's agenda, identify the MVTs, or Most Valuable Tasks. These are the time-sensitive things that absolutely must get done each day, even to the exclusion (if necessary) of everything else. But be realistic and conservative in giving MVT status to a task &mdash; if everything on your list is do-or-die, then the designation becomes meaningless and few things will end up getting done.</p> <p>Remember, MVTs should come with MVRs (Most Valuable Rewards), be built around smaller dependent tasks, include action verbs, and be paired with the emotions that accomplishment will bring.</p> <p>Every person's to-do list is unique, and I'm sure there are countless tricks and strategies folks have developed to keep those check-marks flowing. The most important quality of any list is simple &mdash; it's got to work day in and day out for its author. As our lives become more or less complex, as our jobs change, and as our kids get older and more independent, our approach to list-making will change, too. The key is being flexible enough to embrace what works and to always stay motivated.</p> <p><em>Do you have a daily to-do list? How to you prioritize tasks and keep yourself motivated as you work through it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">Multitasking Sucks Even More Than You Thought</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-have-a-sven-sandy-might-be-the-next-best-thing">Don&#039;t Have A Sven? Sandy Might Be the Next Best Thing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-weird-ways-to-get-things-done-that-might-work-for-you">10 Weird Ways to Get Things Done That Might Work For You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-no-stress-ways-to-do-more-in-less-time">10 No-Stress Ways to Do More in Less Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity organization productivity to-do lists Fri, 04 Oct 2013 10:36:02 +0000 Kentin Waits 994553 at http://www.wisebread.com Actually Get Things Done: Creating a Reasonable To-Do List http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6899768810_7f28930290_c.jpg" alt="to do wall" title="to do wall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s far too easy to wind up with a to-do list that seems to go on forever. Just as you finish one task, you think of three more that need to get done. I don&rsquo;t know too many people who successfully complete every single item they would like to get done, especially if you look at their to-do lists over time.</p> <p>If you want to accomplish more of the tasks on your to-do list, you have to create a reasonable list &mdash; one that&rsquo;s actually in line with what is practical to handle. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-secret-to-time-management-and-work-life-balance">The Secret to Time Management and Work-Life Balance</a>)</p> <h3>Who&rsquo;s Putting Tasks on Your To-Do List?</h3> <p>The first question you have to address is exactly who is allowed to add to your to-do list. Most of us may be in charge of writing out our own lists, but anyone able to send us a quick email can add to our lists. All it takes is a &quot;could you please do this?&quot; and our lists get that much longer.</p> <p>It is OK to say no to most people, especially if your to-do list is getting out of hand. An employer may not be easy to deny, but if your boss is being unreasonable about what you can accomplish in a short period of time, it&rsquo;s worth pointing out to that person you can&rsquo;t actually accomplish everything on your list in a timely manner. </p> <p>Your significant other may fall into a similar category as your boss. You can&rsquo;t just tell a spouse or partner that you&rsquo;re not going to do something, at least without explaining why. You may need to discuss tasks as they come up. Everyone else, though, it&rsquo;s worth saying no or that you&rsquo;ll have to see &mdash; your own tasks should be a priority.</p> <h3>Prioritization Makes the Difference</h3> <p>Within your to-do list, you need to prioritize what must be accomplished. There are things you have to do today and things that you can put off indefinitely. In general, it&rsquo;s best to focus on what you must accomplish today. But if you only ever do what must be handled today, those tasks without deadlines won&rsquo;t actually be accomplished &mdash; you may get to a few things with deadlines this week or next ahead of time, but that&rsquo;s it. In order to prioritize effectively, you need to set deadlines for every task, and they must be real deadlines. If you just make up a deadline for a given task, the odds of it being completed are incredibly slim.</p> <p>But if you tie a task to an external deadline, such as knowing that you need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/have-houseguests-how-to-be-the-host-with-the-most">clean out the guest room</a> before your mother&rsquo;s next visit, the odds of it actually getting done go up significantly.</p> <h3>Break Down Big Tasks Into Little Ones</h3> <p>To any extent possible, you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-accomplishing-more-in-a-day">break down tasks into the smallest concrete steps</a> you can assign to yourself. We tend to look at something big, like &quot;paint the house,&quot; and put it off as long as possible because there are so many elements to crossing a task like that off of our to-do list. But if we can break it down into steps like buying paint and taping off electrical sockets, we can tell ourselves that we only need to work for a few minutes to accomplish each little task.</p> <p>We get the added bonus of being able to cross more items off of our lists. That feeling of knowing that we&rsquo;ve finished tasks is crucial. It&rsquo;s the main thing that keeps us moving down that list. If we can build up momentum, the whole list is easier to handle.</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t Be Afraid to Drop Tasks</h3> <p>At the end of the day, there&rsquo;s no punishment for not completing many of the tasks that wind up on our to-do lists. So if something hasn&rsquo;t gotten done and you don&rsquo;t see a clear problem with not doing it, the best way to keep your to-do list under control is to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-less-and-why-you-should">drop that task</a>. Take the time to think about the consequences of actually not doing some of your tasks, and you may find that many of them are things you&rsquo;d like to do, rather than need to do. </p> <p>If there&rsquo;s a task that is important to you but that doesn&rsquo;t absolutely need to be done &mdash; that you can&rsquo;t tie to a deadline and that there&rsquo;s no consequence for not doing it &mdash; take it off your to-do list. Add it to a separate list that you can look at and work on when there&rsquo;s room on your to-do list. That way, you&rsquo;re not cluttering up your main list and not getting depressed every time you have to put off a particular task.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World&#039;s Busiest People</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective With These 5 Simple Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you">The 10 Best Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stick-to-personal-deadlines">How to Stick to Personal Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity getting things done time management to-do lists Mon, 04 Jun 2012 10:24:09 +0000 Thursday Bram 929269 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Have A Sven? Sandy Might Be the Next Best Thing http://www.wisebread.com/dont-have-a-sven-sandy-might-be-the-next-best-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-have-a-sven-sandy-might-be-the-next-best-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/515858_47987019.jpg" alt="Managing Your Calendar - Photo Courtesy of Stock.Xchg" title="Managing Your Calendar - Photo Courtesy of Stock.Xchg" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've seen <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDVGrzqf4go" target="_blank">AT&amp;T's latest smartphone commerical</a> , then you know just how handy having a &quot;Sven&quot; would be. Sven tells you when to get up, notifies you of your daily schedule and reminds you of things you need to know to get the most from your day.</p> <p>Wouldn't it be great if we all had a Sven?</p> <p>For those of us that don't, Sandy might just be the next best thing.</p> <p>I recently posted a <a href="/an-easier-way-to-manage-your-to-dos">short list of great online services</a> to help you manage your to-do's. Not only did the list get a great response but one smart WiseBread reader pointed out that I had left &quot;Sandy&quot; off the list (thanks, Rob!).</p> <p>I hadn't used Sandy before but after checking it out, I decided she was worthy of her own post, not just an amendment to my already published list.</p> <p>So, just who is Sandy? And why do you need her?</p> <p>Sandy (<a href="http://iwantsandy.com" target="_blank">IWantSandy.com</a>) is your online personal assistant. She'll remember birthdays for you and even remind you when they're coming up. She recall phone numbers, dates, meetings, to-do's and even your grocery list.</p> <p>You can even have your stuff delivered to a desktop reader via RSS.</p> <p>Want to receive your reminders on your cell? With Sandy you can! Get your reminders sent via email to your Blackberry, Palm or iPhone or just have Sandy sent you a text message.</p> <p>She can lookup your lists based on tags you create and she can even sync with your Twitter account.</p> <p>Granted, she doesn't hand out sweaters when its cold like Sven does, nor does she help you evaluate your stock position.</p> <p>But hey... she's free, she won't take vacations and she works 24/7... let's see Sven top that.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like This Article? Pin it!</p> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-have-a-sven-sandy-might-be-the-next-best-thing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520Should%2520Get%2520An%2520Online%2520Personal%2520Assistant.jpg&amp;description=Don't%20Have%20A%20Sven%3F%20Sandy%20Might%20Be%20the%20Next%20Best%20Thing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20Should%20Get%20An%20Online%20Personal%20Assistant.jpg" alt="Why You Should Get An Online Personal Assistant" width="250" height="374" /></p> </h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-have-a-sven-sandy-might-be-the-next-best-thing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-tools-for-getting-work-done-anywhere">7 Essential Tools for Getting Work Done -- Anywhere!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-best-free-tools-to-improve-your-work-performance">The 7 Best Free Tools to Improve Your Work Performance</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective With These 5 Simple Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-complete-idiots-guide-to-speed-reading-a-book-review">The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Speed Reading: A Book Review</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-one-touch-approach-to-managing-household-finances">A One Touch Approach To Managing Household Finances</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Productivity Technology i want sandy managing your calender online personal assistant productivity to-do lists Wed, 13 Feb 2008 04:43:00 +0000 Kate Luther 1788 at http://www.wisebread.com An Easier Way to Manage Your To-Do's http://www.wisebread.com/an-easier-way-to-manage-your-to-dos <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/an-easier-way-to-manage-your-to-dos" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/491175_80098034.jpg" alt="Shopping List - Photo Courtesy of Stock Xchange" title="Shopping List - Photo Courtesy of Stock Xchange" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="200" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I love lists. I can't help it - I just do. Lists make me feel as if I'm making progress. They are my first step in taking any kind of action. The idea is no longer just rolling around in my head - its on a list, which makes it more concrete and doable, if only to me.</p> <p>My lists range from sticky notes and scrap paper in my purse to a running list of random thoughts and ideas that I keep on my computer in Notepad. Its not sophisticated, but it ensures that I'll be able to access that brilliant idea later when I realize that I've forgotten what it was.</p> <p>And I will forget. I always do. Not that I had the idea, just what the idea was. Its enough to drive you insane.</p> <p>So, being the Queen of Lists, it occurred to me that there's probably some fabulous freebies out there on the web that can help me manage my lists better than the sticky notes and scrap paper.</p> <p>I was right. There's tons. Here's my top 5 so far:</p> <p>I love lists. I can't help it - I just do. Lists make me feel as if I'm making progress. They are my first step in taking any kind of action. The idea is no longer just rolling around in my head - its on a list, which makes it more concrete and doable, if only to me.</p> <p>My lists range from sticky notes and scrap paper in my purse to a running list of random thoughts and ideas that I keep on my computer in Notepad. Its not sophisticated, but it ensures that I'll be able to access that brilliant idea later when I realize that I've forgotten what it was.</p> <p>And I will forget. I always do. Not that I had the idea, just what the idea was. Its enough to drive you insane.</p> <p>So, being the Queen of Lists, it occurred to me that there's probably some fabulous freebies out there on the web that can help me manage my lists better than the sticky notes and scrap paper.</p> <p>I was right. There's tons. Here's my top 5 so far:<br /> <strong><br /> Remember The Milk</strong><br /> A wonderful alternative to sticky notes and dayplanners, Remember the Milk gives you all sorts of ways to organize and plan all of your to-do's. You can create as many lists as you want, make each one public or private and share with others if needed. Set due dates for your tasks, set tasks to repeat on a regular schedule and even create tags that show up in your &quot;task cloud&quot; - choose a tag from the cloud and see all the tasks related to that keyword.</p> <p>Remember the Milk also allows you to see your list offline, set reminders that can be sent via email, IM or SMS and with the paid Pro version, you can sync with Windows Mobile.</p> <p>Here's my <a target="_blank" href="http://www.rememberthemilk.com/home/ivygirl/2561170/"><strong>sample list</strong></a> - made public for your enjoyment :)</p> <p><strong>43 Things</strong><br /> By now, just about everyone has heard of 43 Things but if you haven't (or just haven't figured out what to do with it) here's your chance.</p> <p>While the other sites I've reviewed here are geared toward shopping lists and household chores, 43 Things is more of a &quot;life's goals&quot; to-do list, giving you the ability to track your goals, dreams and aspirations along with anything else you might like to add. Want to learn a foreign language? Add that here. Wish you knew how to juggle? You can add that here too. Can't think of any ways to challenge yourself? No problem... just browse what others are doing for inspiration.</p> <p>You can also sync your 43 Things account to your blog so everytime you add a new to-do or update its status, you can post it to your blog as well.</p> <p>You can see my <a target="_blank" href="http://www.43things.com/person/kateivy"><strong>43 Things list here</strong></a> .</p> <p><strong>Ta-Da</strong><br /> From 37 Signals (who by the way has some other cool online tools) comes the Ta-da List. It has a user-friendly interface and can be shared with certain people or made public for all the Net to see.</p> <p>You can check off items as you complete them so you'll always have a running list of what you've done so far.</p> <p>You can see <a target="_blank" href="http://ivygirl.tadalist.com/lists/public/883502"><strong>my Ta-da list here</strong></a> .</p> <p><strong>Bla-Bla List</strong><br /> Bla-Bla has a really simple interface but if you're looking for something to just manage your many to-do's, this is a great solution. You can share your lists with certain people or publish it for public viewing. You can see mine at <a target="_blank" href="http://blablalist.com/list/ivygirl/things_to_ponder"><strong>http://blablalist.com/list/ivygirl/things_to_ponder</strong></a> and if you'd like to subscribe to the feed and discover other things I'm pondering, Bla-Bla has an RSS feature too.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://zoho.com"><strong>Zoho</strong></a> <br /> For those of you looking for something a bit more all-encompassing, Zoho's for you.</p> <p>Zoho is kind of like an online day planner combined with a web conferencing feature combined with project management software combined with a Wiki, an online presentation tool and... well, you get the idea.</p> <p>Using Zoho strictly to manage your grocery list is probably a waste of its capabilities but if you need something to help you manage, track, collaborate and create, then Zoho is definitely what you're looking for.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like This Article? Pin it!</p> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fan-easier-way-to-manage-your-to-dos&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520To%2520Manage%2520Your%2520To%2520Do%2520List.jpg&amp;description=An%20Easier%20Way%20to%20Manage%20Your%20To-Do's"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20To%20Manage%20Your%20To%20Do%20List.jpg" alt="An Easier Way to Manage Your To-Do's" width="250" height="374" /></p> </h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/an-easier-way-to-manage-your-to-dos">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-deal-when-youre-way-behind-at-work">6 Ways to Deal When You&#039;re Way Behind at Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-to-do-lists-more-effective-with-these-5-simple-hacks">Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective With These 5 Simple Hacks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/actually-get-things-done-creating-a-reasonable-to-do-list">Actually Get Things Done: Creating a Reasonable To-Do List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/being-routinely-creative">Being routinely creative</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/multitasking-sucks-even-more-than-you-thought">Multitasking Sucks Even More Than You Thought</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity free web applications productivity tips productivity tools to-do lists Fri, 08 Feb 2008 01:55:27 +0000 Kate Luther 1761 at http://www.wisebread.com