Nonprofit Network Blog

Five Steps to Make Your To-Do List Work for You

Monday, March 21, 2022 12:42 PM | Jessica Chipman (Administrator)

Jessica Chipman
ffice Manager

How do you stay organized?” 

This question has been following me around since I can remember. Though I’m not sure how my passion for organization started, I’m sure growing up with a very organized grandma helped (thanks, Grandma!). Staying organized has helped me streamline processes and accomplish goals both at work and home and I want to share some helpful tips that might be able to translate to you and your work. 

A simple method that helps me to stay organized is utilizing a to-do list. Below are some great tips on how to keep your to-do list functional and manageable.

1)      Find a medium that works for you.  Determine how to keep track of your list according to your lifestyle. Would you prefer using pen and paper so that your list is physically in front of you? Would it be better to keep an electronic list on your phone for your on-the-go lifestyle? Use the method that works best for you. 

2)      Make a weekly master list and a daily list.  Start each week by making a master list of everything that you need to accomplish for the week. Then each day create a daily list. Write down everything that you must do that day on your list (include meetings, tasks, appointments…everything that you can think of). This will help you plan your day.

3)      Be realistic. Do not overwhelm yourself.  Reality check – you may not be able to accomplish 15 tasks in one day. Highlight the top three things you need to get done that day and do them. It is important to recognize that life happens and there is only so much time in a day. Something unexpected may happen (you may get interrupted several times; the phone might ring off the hook…you get the idea). If you did not accomplish a task that you were hoping to do today, do it first thing tomorrow.

4)      Break it down!  If you have a large project to tackle, break down everything that needs to be done to accomplish that project. Laying out the individual tasks allows you to process and recognize everything that is required for the project. After writing down each task, the project may seem bigger or smaller than you originally expected. By seeing each step required, it will help you to better plan and manage your time.

5)      Prepare a to-do list before you leave work.  The last thing I do before I leave work for the day is make a to-do list for the next day.  This helps me set my expectations so when I walk into the office the next day, my to-do list is right there, ready and waiting for me to dive in.

And isn't there just something satisfying about crossing tasks off from your to-do list? I hope these tips will help you to organize yourself in a way that allows you to take charge and tackle your day with a smile. After all, nonprofit leaders and staff wear multiple hats and strong organizational practices are essential for staying on track in today’s challenging environment. 
If you are looking for more tips and tricks to stay organized
join us for Nonprofit Network’s upcoming webinar “Keeping Yourself Organizedon Wednesday, April 20th from 12:00 – 1:00 pm facilitated by Sharon Castle and myself where we will share additional tips and apps to help you keep your calendar, email, and more organized. We hope to see you there!

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