4.4: Manage daily tasks
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Now that you can see the big picture of your semester and weekly priorities, the next step is to create a daily to-do list to prioritize your tasks. The video below introduces you to some principles for creating daily task lists. When you are finished, move to the next section to choose strategies for managing your tasks.
Managing Daily Tasks Video Transcript
By the time you’ve finished the day today, what will you have accomplished? In this video, you will learn to create a system to manage your daily to-do list, so that you can prioritize effectively and use your time efficiently. For every task you have to complete, you need to decide:
1. When do I need to finish this by?
2. How much time will it take? and
3. Is this task a priority, or can it wait until later?
A good to-do list helps you make sure that you complete all of your high priority tasks, and that you allocate a manageable amount of work to each day. So, how do you make a daily task list? First, you will want to find the format that works best for you. Some people prefer to use a paper planner. Others prefer to use the reminders function on their phone, or another task list app. Choose the format that meets your needs the best. Second, you will need to divide your work into tasks that are specific, measurable, and achievable. In general, a task should be anything that you can complete in a single work period – for example, in an hour or less. If you have a large project, break it down into smaller tasks.
Third, you will need to assign your tasks to a specific day. Make sure that each day’s task list is reasonable and achievable.
Fourth, prioritize each day’s tasks. What tasks must be finished today. Be sure that you complete these before moving on to lower priority tasks. After the most important things have been done, move on to the less urgent tasks.
At the end of the day, decide what to do with any tasks that aren’t yet complete. Most often, you will move the task to another day. You might also decide that the task isn’t important, and delete it from your list.
Finally, be sure to reward yourself for a day’s work well done. If you are able to create an effective motivational system for yourself, you will be less likely to procrastinate, and more likely to finish your most important work each day.
To summarize, a daily to-do list can help you stay on track and achieve your most important goals. Choose a tool that works for you, organize your tasks, prioritize them, and work through your list each day.