Tag Archives: Business

Thirteen tips for giving a well-organized and informative speech

Being organized can make a positive impact when giving a speech. If you’re disorganized and ill-prepared, your audience is likely to not pay attention and get very little from the information you provide. Conversely, a well-practiced and orderly speech will keep your audience interested and leave your audience members glad they took the time to hear your insights.

If you have a fear of speaking in front of people, I highly recommend taking a speech class or joining your local Toastmasters. If you’re simply looking for some pointers for creating a more organized presentation, try these 13 tips:

 

Thirteen tips for giving a well-organized and informative speech

Being organized can make a positive impact when giving a speech. If you’re disorganized and ill-prepared, your audience is likely to not pay attention and get very little from the information you provide. Conversely, a well-practiced and orderly speech will keep your audience interested and leave your audience members glad they took the time to hear your insights.

If you have a fear of speaking in front of people, I highly recommend taking a speech class or joining your local Toastmasters. If you’re simply looking for some pointers for creating a more organized presentation, try these 13 tips:

 

Don’t Just See; Observe: What Sherlock Holmes Can Teach Us About Mindful Decisions #in

Sherlock_holmes-sidney-paget-o-001

Sherlock Holmes isn’t what you’d call a traditional psychologist. In fact, he isn’t even real (despite the letters that to this day arrive at 221B Baker Street). But we’d be well advised, as decision makers who want to gain better insight into our minds and the processes that lie behind our choices, to take a few pages from the playbook of Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.

Sherlock Holmes teaches us to be constantly mindful of our surroundings

When I was little, my dad used to read us Sherlock Holmes stories before bed. While my brother often took the opportunity to fall promptly asleep on his corner of the couch, the rest of us listened intently. I remember in particular one story that has stayed with me. Not the whole story, actually, but one exchange that caught my attention.

 In “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Holmes instructs Watson on the difference between seeing and observing:

“When I hear you give your reasons,” I remarked, “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning, I am baffled until you explain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours.”

“Quite so,” he answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwing himself down into an armchair. “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.”

“Frequently.”

“How often?”

“Well, some hundreds of times.”

“Then how many are there?”

“How many? I don’t know.”

“Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed.”

The exchange really shook me. Feverishly, I tried to remember how many steps there were in our own house, how many led up to our front door (I couldn’t). And for a long time afterward, I tried to count stairs and steps whenever I could, lodging the proper number in my memory in case anyone ever called upon me to report. I’d make Holmes proud (of course, I’d promptly forget each number I had so diligently tried to remember – and it wasn’t until later that I realized that by focusing so intently on memorization, I’d missed the point entirely and was actually being less, not more observant).

What it means to go beyond seeing and to actually observe

Conan Doyle’s Holmes had taught himself to observe on a regular, almost superhuman basis. For him, taking note of the myriad inputs from his surroundings was a matter of course. He was never not observing, never not in touch with his environment. He had mindfulness down to an art. Most of us aren’t as careful.

Our senses—and here I don’t just mean vision; I mean all of them, touch, hearing, smell, taste—are powerful forces. Every day, countless items, some glanced, or heard, or felt, or smelled only briefly—perhaps without ever registering in our consciousness—affect our minds and play into our decisions. But for the most part, we don’t pay attention; and we fail to realize what it is that is guiding us at any given moment – or fail to note something that would have made a crucial difference to our decision calculus.

Most of us are lucky to have eyes that, like Watson’s, are every bit as good as Holmes’s. Ditto the rest of the senses. But so often, we squander them. We block ourselves off from the world, armed with headphones, dark glasses, eyes that look straight ahead and hurry on to their destination as quickly as possible, angry at the slightest interruption. How much do we miss that would actually make a difference, that continues to affect us even though we don’t realize it’s doing so? I’ve already written about the potential of smell to do just that, but the same holds for every single one of the senses we take for granted.

Using our senses to increase mindfulness

We and our decisions both would be well served to take some of the famed detective’s advice, to go beyond seeing and into the realm of observing. Take note of what’s around you. Take note of how or why it affects you. You might not turn into an expert crime solver, but I guarantee, you’d be surprised at the difference it can make to the quality of your life and your decisions.

To be mindful is to be aware. To observe, not merely to see, with our eyes, as well as the rest of our senses. That’s why, over the next few weeks, I’ll be devoting several posts to the interaction of our senses and our minds, exploring how each sense can affect our brains and our choices, in order to foster a greater awareness of the constant interplay between ourselves and our environment and an understanding of how that interplay can help us become more mindful decision makers.

 

[photo credit: Sidney Paget’s original 1891 illustration of Holmes and Watson, from the Strand magazine. Photograph: Time Life Pictures/Getty Images]

 

 

Don’t Just See; Observe: What Sherlock Holmes Can Teach Us About Mindful Decisions #in

Sherlock_holmes-sidney-paget-o-001

Sherlock Holmes isn’t what you’d call a traditional psychologist. In fact, he isn’t even real (despite the letters that to this day arrive at 221B Baker Street). But we’d be well advised, as decision makers who want to gain better insight into our minds and the processes that lie behind our choices, to take a few pages from the playbook of Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.

Sherlock Holmes teaches us to be constantly mindful of our surroundings

When I was little, my dad used to read us Sherlock Holmes stories before bed. While my brother often took the opportunity to fall promptly asleep on his corner of the couch, the rest of us listened intently. I remember in particular one story that has stayed with me. Not the whole story, actually, but one exchange that caught my attention.

 In “A Scandal in Bohemia,” Holmes instructs Watson on the difference between seeing and observing:

“When I hear you give your reasons,” I remarked, “the thing always appears to me to be so ridiculously simple that I could easily do it myself, though at each successive instance of your reasoning, I am baffled until you explain your process. And yet I believe that my eyes are as good as yours.”

“Quite so,” he answered, lighting a cigarette, and throwing himself down into an armchair. “You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear. For example, you have frequently seen the steps which lead up from the hall to this room.”

“Frequently.”

“How often?”

“Well, some hundreds of times.”

“Then how many are there?”

“How many? I don’t know.”

“Quite so! You have not observed. And yet you have seen. That is just my point. Now, I know that there are seventeen steps, because I have both seen and observed.”

The exchange really shook me. Feverishly, I tried to remember how many steps there were in our own house, how many led up to our front door (I couldn’t). And for a long time afterward, I tried to count stairs and steps whenever I could, lodging the proper number in my memory in case anyone ever called upon me to report. I’d make Holmes proud (of course, I’d promptly forget each number I had so diligently tried to remember – and it wasn’t until later that I realized that by focusing so intently on memorization, I’d missed the point entirely and was actually being less, not more observant).

What it means to go beyond seeing and to actually observe

Conan Doyle’s Holmes had taught himself to observe on a regular, almost superhuman basis. For him, taking note of the myriad inputs from his surroundings was a matter of course. He was never not observing, never not in touch with his environment. He had mindfulness down to an art. Most of us aren’t as careful.

Our senses—and here I don’t just mean vision; I mean all of them, touch, hearing, smell, taste—are powerful forces. Every day, countless items, some glanced, or heard, or felt, or smelled only briefly—perhaps without ever registering in our consciousness—affect our minds and play into our decisions. But for the most part, we don’t pay attention; and we fail to realize what it is that is guiding us at any given moment – or fail to note something that would have made a crucial difference to our decision calculus.

Most of us are lucky to have eyes that, like Watson’s, are every bit as good as Holmes’s. Ditto the rest of the senses. But so often, we squander them. We block ourselves off from the world, armed with headphones, dark glasses, eyes that look straight ahead and hurry on to their destination as quickly as possible, angry at the slightest interruption. How much do we miss that would actually make a difference, that continues to affect us even though we don’t realize it’s doing so? I’ve already written about the potential of smell to do just that, but the same holds for every single one of the senses we take for granted.

Using our senses to increase mindfulness

We and our decisions both would be well served to take some of the famed detective’s advice, to go beyond seeing and into the realm of observing. Take note of what’s around you. Take note of how or why it affects you. You might not turn into an expert crime solver, but I guarantee, you’d be surprised at the difference it can make to the quality of your life and your decisions.

To be mindful is to be aware. To observe, not merely to see, with our eyes, as well as the rest of our senses. That’s why, over the next few weeks, I’ll be devoting several posts to the interaction of our senses and our minds, exploring how each sense can affect our brains and our choices, in order to foster a greater awareness of the constant interplay between ourselves and our environment and an understanding of how that interplay can help us become more mindful decision makers.

 

[photo credit: Sidney Paget’s original 1891 illustration of Holmes and Watson, from the Strand magazine. Photograph: Time Life Pictures/Getty Images]

 

 

Harnessing the ‘Indigenous Potential’ | The Mark

First Nations deserve a fair shake in the development of energy and mining resources.

This is a time of enormous potential for indigenous peoples in Canada and around the globe – a time when respectful energy and mining development could be a key tool in helping our peoples and nations reach their full potential.

Across North America, there are unprecedented opportunities to develop resources on indigenous lands in a responsible and sustainable manner, and many First Nations in Canada are using these opportunities to build and rebuild their nations, build skills and capacities for their people, and build up their economies. They are creating thriving communities in which their people can live, work, and grow.

With the reality of climate change and the prospects of green energy, there is a growing global demand for natural resources and energy. This creates an opportunity for us to shift the view from what is too often seen as the “indigenous problem” to one of “indigenous potential.”

In Canada, First Nations citizens can add over $400 billion to the economy by 2026 if we close the education and labour-force gap between First Nations and other Canadians. As the fastest and largest growing segment of Canada’s population, with almost half of our people under the age of 25, First Nations citizens in Canada could fill the looming labour shortage created by Canada’s aging, retiring population.

By increasing and improving the collective understanding of indigenous rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in relation to resource development, we can, and will, create the space for indigenous citizens, communities, and economies to thrive. These are the factors that recently brought together more than 800 indigenous leaders and citizens and representatives from government and industry from around the world in Niagara Falls for the first-ever International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining.

The three-day summit, hosted by the Assembly of First Nations and the National Congress of American Indians, is just one of the many efforts underway to transform the relationship between indigenous peoples and the rest of the world. The summit was a chance for all the key players to identify and discuss effective approaches to energy and resource development, keeping in mind the necessity for approaches that respect indigenous rights and treaties. Through this – and through other relationship-building approaches – we will continue to share experiences and challenges, answer questions, and develop best practices that will eventually lead to increased recognition, respect, partnerships, and prosperity for all.

More and more, First Nations citizens in Canada are taking their rightful place as leaders and active participants in the economy in ways that benefit our peoples, our communities, and our collective future. While there are good examples of effective engagement and agreements between industry and First Nations, there are also too many bad examples. This is our chance to work together to eliminate the bad examples. I have said, recently, that this could be our new fur trade. Indigenous peoples in Canada were essential to the fur trade. We were active participants, providing knowledge and insight to traders, and the traders, in turn, respected our right to our resources, lands, and territories.

First Nations are not opposed to development, but we do not believe in development at any cost. We continue to advocate for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principle of free, prior, and informed consent before any development occurs. That means consulting and accommodating First Nations prior to development. Our mantra is: “Engage early and engage often.” This is necessary to establish the relationships required to build effective partnerships and agreements between First Nations, governments, and industry.

As stewards of the land, as fathers and mothers, and as business people and community leaders, indigenous peoples in Canada have a responsibility to our ancestors to fulfill their vision. This is a vision of strong, healthy communities that are thriving in our languages, cultures, and economies. With this knowledge and respect for our ancestors and Elders, we continually seek an important balance – living and learning according to their wisdom while gaining the knowledge and support we need to fulfill our roles and responsibilities for future generations.

Those who attended the International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining brought with them their best ideas and best practices. We announced the creation of a First Nations Virtual Institute on Energy and Mining, which will serve as an online tool for sharing information, experience, and data. And everyone who participated agreed we must gather again soon to maintain momentum on this important matter.

We have shown that we can build on existing successes, learn from our challenges, and recognize opportunities for indigenous peoples to work together and lead the way based on the original relationships set out in treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We can transform these relationships in ways that strengthen our citizens, communities, and economies. This is a win-win situation for everyone. By raising the collective literacy around energy and mining development and the rights of indigenous peoples, we will unleash the full potential and energy of our people in a way that strengthens all of us.

Harnessing the ‘Indigenous Potential’ | The Mark

First Nations deserve a fair shake in the development of energy and mining resources.

This is a time of enormous potential for indigenous peoples in Canada and around the globe – a time when respectful energy and mining development could be a key tool in helping our peoples and nations reach their full potential.

Across North America, there are unprecedented opportunities to develop resources on indigenous lands in a responsible and sustainable manner, and many First Nations in Canada are using these opportunities to build and rebuild their nations, build skills and capacities for their people, and build up their economies. They are creating thriving communities in which their people can live, work, and grow.

With the reality of climate change and the prospects of green energy, there is a growing global demand for natural resources and energy. This creates an opportunity for us to shift the view from what is too often seen as the “indigenous problem” to one of “indigenous potential.”

In Canada, First Nations citizens can add over $400 billion to the economy by 2026 if we close the education and labour-force gap between First Nations and other Canadians. As the fastest and largest growing segment of Canada’s population, with almost half of our people under the age of 25, First Nations citizens in Canada could fill the looming labour shortage created by Canada’s aging, retiring population.

By increasing and improving the collective understanding of indigenous rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in relation to resource development, we can, and will, create the space for indigenous citizens, communities, and economies to thrive. These are the factors that recently brought together more than 800 indigenous leaders and citizens and representatives from government and industry from around the world in Niagara Falls for the first-ever International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining.

The three-day summit, hosted by the Assembly of First Nations and the National Congress of American Indians, is just one of the many efforts underway to transform the relationship between indigenous peoples and the rest of the world. The summit was a chance for all the key players to identify and discuss effective approaches to energy and resource development, keeping in mind the necessity for approaches that respect indigenous rights and treaties. Through this – and through other relationship-building approaches – we will continue to share experiences and challenges, answer questions, and develop best practices that will eventually lead to increased recognition, respect, partnerships, and prosperity for all.

More and more, First Nations citizens in Canada are taking their rightful place as leaders and active participants in the economy in ways that benefit our peoples, our communities, and our collective future. While there are good examples of effective engagement and agreements between industry and First Nations, there are also too many bad examples. This is our chance to work together to eliminate the bad examples. I have said, recently, that this could be our new fur trade. Indigenous peoples in Canada were essential to the fur trade. We were active participants, providing knowledge and insight to traders, and the traders, in turn, respected our right to our resources, lands, and territories.

First Nations are not opposed to development, but we do not believe in development at any cost. We continue to advocate for the full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principle of free, prior, and informed consent before any development occurs. That means consulting and accommodating First Nations prior to development. Our mantra is: “Engage early and engage often.” This is necessary to establish the relationships required to build effective partnerships and agreements between First Nations, governments, and industry.

As stewards of the land, as fathers and mothers, and as business people and community leaders, indigenous peoples in Canada have a responsibility to our ancestors to fulfill their vision. This is a vision of strong, healthy communities that are thriving in our languages, cultures, and economies. With this knowledge and respect for our ancestors and Elders, we continually seek an important balance – living and learning according to their wisdom while gaining the knowledge and support we need to fulfill our roles and responsibilities for future generations.

Those who attended the International Indigenous Summit on Energy and Mining brought with them their best ideas and best practices. We announced the creation of a First Nations Virtual Institute on Energy and Mining, which will serve as an online tool for sharing information, experience, and data. And everyone who participated agreed we must gather again soon to maintain momentum on this important matter.

We have shown that we can build on existing successes, learn from our challenges, and recognize opportunities for indigenous peoples to work together and lead the way based on the original relationships set out in treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We can transform these relationships in ways that strengthen our citizens, communities, and economies. This is a win-win situation for everyone. By raising the collective literacy around energy and mining development and the rights of indigenous peoples, we will unleash the full potential and energy of our people in a way that strengthens all of us.

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools



Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Keeping track of your own to-dos is hard, but keeping track of shared to-dos and tasks with dependencies can be even more difficult. Earlier in the week, we asked you to nominate the tools you use to manage shared to-do lists. You responded, and now we’re back to highlight the five most popular ones.

The nominations this week were all over the map. A number of you use a wide variety of utilities and tools to manage group to-dos, whether the tool was built for that purpose or you’ve re-purposed a tool for the job. Here are the most popular. Photo by Jay and Melissa Malouin.

Basecamp

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Basecamp has grown to be one of the web’s most prominent tools for online collaboration. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can get shared to-do lists with assignable items, a shared calendar of events complete with milestones and major deadlines on the calendar, private chat, document sharing, and more. Many of the world’s biggest companies use Basecamp for group projects and collaboration. Basecamp can be pricey though, with plans that range from $49/month to $99/month and topping off at $149/month, it might be too much if you just want to organize a family reunion, but perfect for a startup company’s new software rollout.

Remember the Milk

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Remember the Milk is one of our favorite to-do managers for personal use, but a number of you use it to keep groups on the same page as well. It really needs no introduction, but Remember the Milk offers mobile apps, the ability to tag to-dos with location, and organize sequential tasks with dependancies. The app also allows you to share your to-dos with others who have work assigned to them. Accounts are free, but mobile apps, email support, Outlook Sync, and the latest features will set you back $25/year.

Cozi

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Cozi is specifically designed for small groups to manage shared to-dos. The dev lead stopped by the nominations thread to share the app, pointed out that Cozi offers multiple users in the same space, multiple to-do lists with individual owners, shared due-dates, and mobile apps to keep track of work. Cozi even offers shared calendars for tracking milestones or deadlines, and even shopping lists and journals for families or households using the service. Plus, it’s completely free.

Producteev

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Another service we’ve mentioned before, Producteev allows you to add to-dos easily, manage them via the Web or iOS app, assign items to team members, share documents, workspaces, and whiteboards, get email alerts to new tasks and deadlines, and the whole thing syncs with Google Calendar. The suite’s features scale whether you’re a small team, a family looking to organize a trip, or a business. Producteev has a free basic account, but $5/month gives you SSL encryption, more storage, and a customizable workspace for 2 users. For groups of 3 or more, you’ll want the $20/month group plan, or the $30/month “platinum” plan that gives you phone support, more storage, and reporting.

Spreadsheets

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Whether they’re spreadsheets in Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, or Zoho Docs, many of you said you just enter to-dos into spreadsheets and send them around to others if you need to get updates from multiple people or assign them work. As someone who used to do project management, I’ve seen enough spreadsheets disguised as project plans and task lists to agree that sometimes the best tool is the one you already have.

Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to vote for an all-out winner.

What’s the Best Group To-Do Management Tool?
Basecamp
Remember the Milk
Cozi
Producteev
Spreadsheets

Quantcast

<br>
What’s the Best Group To-Do Management Tool?<span style=”font-size:9px;”>online survey</span><br>

There were a lot of nominations this week, so it’s no surprise some of your favorites weren’t included. Share them in the comments below and let us know why you use the app you like the most!

You can reach Alan Henry, the author of this post, at alan@lifehacker.com, or better yet, follow him on Twitter.

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools



Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Keeping track of your own to-dos is hard, but keeping track of shared to-dos and tasks with dependencies can be even more difficult. Earlier in the week, we asked you to nominate the tools you use to manage shared to-do lists. You responded, and now we’re back to highlight the five most popular ones.

The nominations this week were all over the map. A number of you use a wide variety of utilities and tools to manage group to-dos, whether the tool was built for that purpose or you’ve re-purposed a tool for the job. Here are the most popular. Photo by Jay and Melissa Malouin.

Basecamp

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Basecamp has grown to be one of the web’s most prominent tools for online collaboration. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can get shared to-do lists with assignable items, a shared calendar of events complete with milestones and major deadlines on the calendar, private chat, document sharing, and more. Many of the world’s biggest companies use Basecamp for group projects and collaboration. Basecamp can be pricey though, with plans that range from $49/month to $99/month and topping off at $149/month, it might be too much if you just want to organize a family reunion, but perfect for a startup company’s new software rollout.

Remember the Milk

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Remember the Milk is one of our favorite to-do managers for personal use, but a number of you use it to keep groups on the same page as well. It really needs no introduction, but Remember the Milk offers mobile apps, the ability to tag to-dos with location, and organize sequential tasks with dependancies. The app also allows you to share your to-dos with others who have work assigned to them. Accounts are free, but mobile apps, email support, Outlook Sync, and the latest features will set you back $25/year.

Cozi

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Cozi is specifically designed for small groups to manage shared to-dos. The dev lead stopped by the nominations thread to share the app, pointed out that Cozi offers multiple users in the same space, multiple to-do lists with individual owners, shared due-dates, and mobile apps to keep track of work. Cozi even offers shared calendars for tracking milestones or deadlines, and even shopping lists and journals for families or households using the service. Plus, it’s completely free.

Producteev

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Another service we’ve mentioned before, Producteev allows you to add to-dos easily, manage them via the Web or iOS app, assign items to team members, share documents, workspaces, and whiteboards, get email alerts to new tasks and deadlines, and the whole thing syncs with Google Calendar. The suite’s features scale whether you’re a small team, a family looking to organize a trip, or a business. Producteev has a free basic account, but $5/month gives you SSL encryption, more storage, and a customizable workspace for 2 users. For groups of 3 or more, you’ll want the $20/month group plan, or the $30/month “platinum” plan that gives you phone support, more storage, and reporting.

Spreadsheets

Five Best Group To-Do Management Tools Whether they’re spreadsheets in Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, or Zoho Docs, many of you said you just enter to-dos into spreadsheets and send them around to others if you need to get updates from multiple people or assign them work. As someone who used to do project management, I’ve seen enough spreadsheets disguised as project plans and task lists to agree that sometimes the best tool is the one you already have.

Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to vote for an all-out winner.

What’s the Best Group To-Do Management Tool?
Basecamp
Remember the Milk
Cozi
Producteev
Spreadsheets

Quantcast

<br>
What’s the Best Group To-Do Management Tool?<span style=”font-size:9px;”>online survey</span><br>

There were a lot of nominations this week, so it’s no surprise some of your favorites weren’t included. Share them in the comments below and let us know why you use the app you like the most!

You can reach Alan Henry, the author of this post, at alan@lifehacker.com, or better yet, follow him on Twitter.

How to Write a Great To-Do List (And Why You Need To) – by Dumb Little Man


Do you have so much to do that you just don’t know where to begin?

We all feel like that sometimes – maybe most of the time. When there’s a whole bunch of different commitments and responsibilities pressing on is, it’s easy to freeze up and do nothing at all.

That’s why you need a to-do list and more importantly perhaps, you have to execute on it. Listing things simply to clear your mind isn’t good enough. It is however a start so let’s begin there.

It helps you:

  • Beat overwhelm – it’s easier to get a grip when you can see what you really need to do, in black and white

  • Remember everything – you can get all those little things off your mind and onto paper, so that you don’t forget anything crucial
  • Stay on track – so that you don’t end up wasting time doing the wrong things
  • Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had plenty of experience with to-do lists during your life. Maybe you’ve written out a list every January of things you really want to accomplish that year – only to find that you’ve accomplished precisely none of them by December. Or perhaps every Monday morning, you write a list for the week – only to find it falling apart by lunchtime.

    So, here’s how to create a to-do list that will actually work for you.

    1. Write Down Everything That’s On Your Mind
      You’ve probably got a whole bunch of stuff in your head right now: tasks to do, projects to complete, things you need to buy, phone calls to make, and so on.

      Grab a piece of paper or fire up an app, and write it all down. This might take 10-15 minutes and you may end up with a horribly long list. Don’t worry – we’re not going to tackle it all!

  • Find the Important Tasks
    Look through your list and highlight anything that’s important. That might be mission-critical tasks at work, promises that you’ve made at home, or anything that’s going to cause you a lot of inconvenience if it doesn’t get done (like paying your bills).

    It’s up to you to decide what counts as “important” – it’s not just about work tasks. If you’d really love to start a blog, take a pottery class or go skydiving, those can go on your important list too.

  • Find the Urgent Tasks
    Go through your list again, ideally with a different colored highlighter. This time, pick out anything that’s urgent. These might not be especially important tasks – but they need to be completed within the next few days.

    Urgent tasks might be taking back your library books, making a phone call, sending out an email, or similar. Again, it’s up to you to decide what counts as urgent – you might want to focus on tasks for the next day or for the next week.

  • Pick Two Important Tasks
    Now, look at your important tasks. Choose:
    • One small task to do today (like “finish that report and send it to the boss”)

  • One medium-sized task to do some time this week (like “write the first chapter of my novel”)
  • Depending on your schedule and the size of the tasks, you might want to pick two or three tasks in each category. Make sure that you phrase your to-do list items as actual tasks. “Report” is not a task; “Write the conclusion to the report” is.

  • Add in Urgent Tasks
    Hopefully, you won’t have too many urgent tasks … but even if you feel overwhelmed by them, it’s still a good idea to get your important tasks in place first. (That way, you avoid building up a backlog of tasks that keeps you chasing urgent things rather than important ones.)

    If you can, ditch any urgent-but-unimportant tasks, or get someone else to give you a hand to get through them.

    Again, make sure that you break the items down into specific actions (especially if you’re going to be delegating).

  • Make a To-Do List Every Morning
    Now that you’ve got a big list of tasks, it’s easy to look through each morning and decide what needs to be done. Every day, pick one – three important tasks, and make these a real priority. Jot down any urgent tasks too, so that you don’t forget them.

    Your to-do list is a powerful tool to help you avoid procrastination: if you have a clearly-defined list of tasks, it’s easy to work through them.

  • Do you write out regular to-do lists? What has – or hasn’t – worked for you?

    Written on 7/5/2011 by Ali Luke. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing. Photo Credit: Florian

    How to Write a Great To-Do List (And Why You Need To) – by Dumb Little Man


    Do you have so much to do that you just don’t know where to begin?

    We all feel like that sometimes – maybe most of the time. When there’s a whole bunch of different commitments and responsibilities pressing on is, it’s easy to freeze up and do nothing at all.

    That’s why you need a to-do list and more importantly perhaps, you have to execute on it. Listing things simply to clear your mind isn’t good enough. It is however a start so let’s begin there.

    It helps you:

    • Beat overwhelm – it’s easier to get a grip when you can see what you really need to do, in black and white

  • Remember everything – you can get all those little things off your mind and onto paper, so that you don’t forget anything crucial
  • Stay on track – so that you don’t end up wasting time doing the wrong things
  • Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably had plenty of experience with to-do lists during your life. Maybe you’ve written out a list every January of things you really want to accomplish that year – only to find that you’ve accomplished precisely none of them by December. Or perhaps every Monday morning, you write a list for the week – only to find it falling apart by lunchtime.

    So, here’s how to create a to-do list that will actually work for you.

    1. Write Down Everything That’s On Your Mind
      You’ve probably got a whole bunch of stuff in your head right now: tasks to do, projects to complete, things you need to buy, phone calls to make, and so on.

      Grab a piece of paper or fire up an app, and write it all down. This might take 10-15 minutes and you may end up with a horribly long list. Don’t worry – we’re not going to tackle it all!

  • Find the Important Tasks
    Look through your list and highlight anything that’s important. That might be mission-critical tasks at work, promises that you’ve made at home, or anything that’s going to cause you a lot of inconvenience if it doesn’t get done (like paying your bills).

    It’s up to you to decide what counts as “important” – it’s not just about work tasks. If you’d really love to start a blog, take a pottery class or go skydiving, those can go on your important list too.

  • Find the Urgent Tasks
    Go through your list again, ideally with a different colored highlighter. This time, pick out anything that’s urgent. These might not be especially important tasks – but they need to be completed within the next few days.

    Urgent tasks might be taking back your library books, making a phone call, sending out an email, or similar. Again, it’s up to you to decide what counts as urgent – you might want to focus on tasks for the next day or for the next week.

  • Pick Two Important Tasks
    Now, look at your important tasks. Choose:
    • One small task to do today (like “finish that report and send it to the boss”)

  • One medium-sized task to do some time this week (like “write the first chapter of my novel”)
  • Depending on your schedule and the size of the tasks, you might want to pick two or three tasks in each category. Make sure that you phrase your to-do list items as actual tasks. “Report” is not a task; “Write the conclusion to the report” is.

  • Add in Urgent Tasks
    Hopefully, you won’t have too many urgent tasks … but even if you feel overwhelmed by them, it’s still a good idea to get your important tasks in place first. (That way, you avoid building up a backlog of tasks that keeps you chasing urgent things rather than important ones.)

    If you can, ditch any urgent-but-unimportant tasks, or get someone else to give you a hand to get through them.

    Again, make sure that you break the items down into specific actions (especially if you’re going to be delegating).

  • Make a To-Do List Every Morning
    Now that you’ve got a big list of tasks, it’s easy to look through each morning and decide what needs to be done. Every day, pick one – three important tasks, and make these a real priority. Jot down any urgent tasks too, so that you don’t forget them.

    Your to-do list is a powerful tool to help you avoid procrastination: if you have a clearly-defined list of tasks, it’s easy to work through them.

  • Do you write out regular to-do lists? What has – or hasn’t – worked for you?

    Written on 7/5/2011 by Ali Luke. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing. Photo Credit: Florian