Thought Leadership

3 Methods To Effectively Manage Your Growing To-Do List

When you’re an entrepreneur or in a managerial position, your work can be seemingly never-ending. The moment you tick off one task, ten more come your way, transforming your do-to list into an insurmountable problem rather than a guide or planner. Seeing your tasks piling up can often leave you feeling overwhelmed and unproductive, a problem faced by many. In fact, a LinkedIn survey found that only 11% of professionals accomplish all the tasks on their daily to-do lists by the end of the workday. Here are a few ways to help you effectively manage your to-do list.


1. The Eisenhower Matrix

In a 1950s speech, the thirty-fourth President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” It was this statement that inspired Stephen Covey’s time management model, the Eisenhower matrix. A great tool to help organize your weekly schedule, the Eisenhower matrix is a four-quadrant box that helps you prioritize your task based on urgency.


If the task is urgent and important, place it at the top of your to-do list. If it’s urgent but not important, delegate the task to someone else. On the other hand, if a task is important but not urgent, schedule time for it later in the week once you finish your urgent and important tasks. And lastly, if you have something on your to-do list that isn’t urgent nor important, strike it off. Tasks that fall in the eliminate or delete quadrant rarely add to your productivity, this includes checking your emails multiple times a day, irrelevant meetings and extended breaks amongst other things.


Studies have shown that this method can greatly improve your time management skills in the long run. Using the Eisenhower Matrix to plan your week gives you a basic framework as to what tasks you need to prioritize during the beginning of the week. Of course, new work is bound to pop up every now and then, throwing your schedule out of plan. This is where the next time management method comes in to help you plan your daily task.


2. The Ivy Lee Method

A 100-year-old productivity key, the Ivy Lee Method is a useful tool to plan out your day the night before. At the end of each workday, write down the six most important tasks that need to be prioritized the following day. The Ivy Lee Method helps you plug in new and unforeseen work into your daily schedule without disrupting your weekly Eisenhower Matrix plan. One of the main reasons why this method is incredible and helps boost your productivity is because you start the day off knowing exactly what you will be working on all day instead of spending time and energy making last-minute plans in the morning. James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones,” often writes about this method and what makes it so effective. “If you commit to nothing, you’ll be distracted by everything,” he says and states that the Ivy Lee method forces you to make tough decisions and focus on a single task instead of multi-tasking.


3. A Task Management App

Last but not least is opting for a good task management platform that you and your team can use to work in tandem with each other. Even if you’re a freelancer or someone who generally runs a one-man team, using a good organization and task tracking platform can make a huge difference to the way you manage your to-do list. Platforms such as Todoist, Asana and Trello are some of the most common to-do list apps. Most of these apps and softwares are incredibly user friendly and have numerous benefits such as reminders, the ability to assign due dates and tasks to other members of your team.


There’s nothing more rewarding than striking off all your tasks and seeing all the things you’ve accomplished during the day or week, and if you implement these three simple time-management steps, you can do just that!