One of my goals this year was to find a to-do list system that works for me. I spent a lot of time reading about productivity as well as task and project management. I finally found a system that works for me!  Chalene Johnson’s book, Push, along with Brian Tracy’s book, Eat that Frog helped me immensely! In this post I’ll share with you the system that I found works for me, I hope it will help you!

An Electronic To-Do List – I’ve tried paper and electronic to-do lists and failed miserably with both of them. However, after figuring out my system, I realized that the reason I failed was in the way I tried to set-up the system, not the tools themselves. Once I figured out the right system, I determined that it made sense to go electronic! I don’t have to carry around 500 pieces of paper or a notebook all day, I can keep everything on my phone and have it with me 24/7.

Awesome Note – This is my application of choice. I absolutely love it! You can set-up folders, to-do lists, journal entries, and more. You can schedule tasks, set reminders, prioritize tasks, move to-do’s to other folders with ease, sync with Evernote, and much much more!

The System

5 Primary Folders – This is what set me free! Before, I tried to make folders for every project I was on and try to check every folder every day. While I still make folders for projects, I only use 4 folders for things I actually need to do.

Folder 1: Unloading Dock – I use this in the beginning of the day and the end of the day. I’ll think of everything I need to do and put as many things that I can think of that need done in this folder. Once I finish doing this, I’ll move them to one of the following folders:

Folder 2: Today – This folder contains the list of things I need to accomplish today!

Folder 3: This Week – This contains a list of things I need to do this week!

Folder 4: This Month – Things I need to accomplish this month!

Folder 5: This Year – Things I need to accomplish this year!

Managing the Lists Daily

Unload and Move – Everyday I look over my calendar and I’ll dump as many tasks as I can think of in the unloading dock. Then I’ll move them to the appropriate folders. Then I go through this week and this months folder and move the tasks that I want to accomplish today to the today folder. This takes about 10-15 minutes a day, but it will save you hours!

Prioritize – Once the items are in their folders, I prioritize them by importance. In Awesome note, they use a Star system. This helps me determine what tasks I need to focus on first.

Schedule – I am just starting to do this, but now I am actually scheduling my tasks for specific times throughout the day. That way, I don’t waste endless amounts of time getting distracted by e-mails and voice-mails. Instead I schedule time to read e-mail and check voice-mails.

This is the system I have found that works for me. I hope it helps you. I’d encourage you to find a system that works for you!

What do you do to manage your to-do list? I’d love to hear any tips you have!

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