by Cristina Trinidad | Featured Contributor
Do you have a long to-do list and you don’t know where to start?
Are you feeling overwhelmed just thinking about all of the projects you’d like to start but don’t know which to tackle first?
Or maybe you have several to-do lists, like me.
As a working mother who wears more than those two hats every day, I’ll show you how to be more productive, stay focused and motivated wherever you are in your “to-do” journey. This process works for anyone who may feel overwhelmed at pushing the needle on different areas of their life.
To-do lists are crucial to staying focused and motivated, when done right – and consistently. I’ve got you covered in 5 steps. Let’s get started:
Step 1: Make a list. Not just any list, mind you. Make a list for the long game strategy called life. Get all of your thoughts out. It could be part bucket-list, part personal growth and even part “never going to happen”. Get it all on there.
Step 2: Bucket. On a new sheet, take the first list you’ve made and bucket the items into categories. Ever play Trivial Pursuit? You get a wheel where you have to answer questions on a given topic to receive a respective slice. I’ve always loved that visual as it pertains to life and all that we juggle. Consider imagining this visual as try to create your buckets.
If you’re unsure what “buckets” look like, here are ones I use:
- Personal Growth
- Bucket List
- Ain’t Gonna Happen, but I’ll try < — seriously, I have that one.
Step 3: Sort. Take all of the items in Step 1, and put them into their related bucket. No order is necessary at this point. All you’re doing now is sorting and giving a home to all of the to-do’s
Step 4: Prioritize. Here’s where the hard work comes in. Prioritize your buckets. This could mean adding a number next to each item with 1 taking an immediate place in your to-do list. It’s quite possible that you have several 1’s. That’s totally ok! We can go back and re-work that.
Step 4a: Re-check and re-assess. This applies if you have more than one “1” in each bucket. You’ll take a look at those and see which has more priority based on time constraints, need and whether you have to wait on others to get started. If you still have more than one “1” do what I did here, label it with an a,b,c…etc.
Step 5: Cream that crop. Now that you’ve prioritized your buckets, take the top 2-3 items from each bucket and create another shorter list. This is the list you tackle. It’s smaller and feels easier to digest.
This process is great for people who can’t work on the same areas all of the time and want to mix things up, for people who wear many hats and want to be able to lavish attention on all areas of their life – and make real progress.
Remember: Don’t throw out your process. You’ll want to keep that master list. You may even want to continually add to that master list as you go, or right to your buckets and assign a number to them. When you’re done with the smaller more concentrated list, you’ll go back to the master list and run through steps 2-5.
Be sure to cross off the master list, what you’ve accomplished – it always feels good to see that red ink going through an item you’ve mastered.
Now that you have a master list, you’ve conquered the art of prioritization, you’re a bucketing and crop creaming champ, don’t forget to reward yourself before you set about creating your next concentrated list.
Have any tips and tricks on how to prioritize and tackle your to-do lists? I’d love to hear it!
Cristina Trinidad is full-time all the time. A wife and working mother of two children, she recently launched a blog and social media coaching business centered on being social without losing yourself in the process. Cristina enjoys helping other bloggers get noticed, or providing just the right prescription to manage their brand online.
What gets more eyebrow raises though, is that she is also a classically trained opera singer from the age of 13. It was all Madonna and Whitney Houston covers before that! She is of Puerto Rican descent and grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn – so she’s got just enough edge to keep her safe. When not blogging at Faithfully Social you can find her on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.