It’s no secret—these days, most of us are busy!

There’s always something to do, work to be done, and issues to resolve. Add to the mix the constant pressure and interruptions, and it’s little wonder that at the end of the day, we often look back at our accomplishments and feel discouraged that we didn’t manage to get much done.

If this is an all-too-familiar feeling for you, we’re here to encourage (and hopefully inspire) you. There’s a solution that can help you get more done, and ensure that you make the best use of your time. We’re talking about lists—the well-known but often-ineffectively-used method of ensuring things that need to be done actually get done.

Making and using lists has long been a proven way of boosting productivity and staying on track. Using lists to prioritize and schedule allows you to get things out of your mind and onto paper, enabling you to visualize your tasks. This process makes it easier to accomplish what you’ve set out to do and gives you the ability to celebrate your success by crossing things off.

Using lists can help you perform better and accomplish more at work—ensuring that important tasks aren’t forgotten, time is better managed, and unwanted interruptions don’t derail your efforts.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few ways that productive people use lists to perform better at work. See what you can learn from their secrets!

Make a Single List

Productive people know that it’s important to use just one list system. This means no leaving haphazard memos scattered across the office, and instead, having one master list where you keep everything. Having notes all over the place will only leave you feeling scatterbrained. Make sure you have one list, whether it’s stored in your day planner, an app, an online calendar, or even a document on your desktop, where you can keep track of everything and see at a glance what needs to be done.

Mark Something Off Before Lunch

Accomplishing something difficult on your list, ideally before lunch, is a pro-tip for setting the rest of the day up for success. As Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Here at Day Designer, we recommend knocking out a few easy tasks first to establish some momentum, Then you can immediately follow that up with getting something hard out of the way—which will make the rest of your list seem like a breeze.

Keep It Simple

Your list shouldn’t be overwhelming! Productive people know that the best list is a realistic one. Have a long master to-do list? Break it up into manageable tasks will give you reasonable objectives to strive for. This will also help you avoid feeling overwhelmed by regularly looking at a long, daunting list. Estimate what you can realistically get done in a day, and mark those items on today’s to-do list. Day Designer offers prompts to align your to-do list alongside your schedule for the day. Try it for free here!

Identify Tasks

To ensure that the most important things get done, you’ll want to identify these items on your list. Our favorite method is to assign priority to your top three for the day. The Day Designer daily planning page offers space for these as well. Identifying your top three will sharpen your focus and allow you to ensure that the most important things get finished before the day is up. For example, the report that’s due will have priority over cleaning out your inbox!

Having lists is a great way to keep yourself on-track, organized, and accountable. We only have a finite number of hours in the workday, so be sure to make those hours count. Free yourself up by establishing a system and utilizing a list—and watch your efficiency and productivity soar!


How do you utilize lists effectively? Let us know in the comments below!