For those of us who wish we could simplify our lives just a little – and which of us doesn’t wish that – maintaining a productive schedule doesn’t always come easy.

What are the most important things you would like to accomplish today? Which things do you really want to do?

This is where maintaining balance and boosting your productivity cross paths. It’s also where  lists, whether you love them or hate them, are important. Some people are expert list makers. They have lists for everything and if you can manage that and it doesn’t take away time from actually getting things done, then you’re already a step ahead of most of us.

The great thing about lists is that as long as you pay attention to them, they will keep you organized. A master list is a great thing to have; one that encompasses both your work and your home life. For the professional list maker, this keeps everything running on an even keel.

For the rest of us, the to do list should become a priority. This is the list that you make at the end of each day with a running tab of everything that you want to get done within the next several days. These are the things which when not written  down, will keep you awake at night, worrying that you have forgotten something important. These are the things that you want to focus on and accomplish as quickly as possible and then get out of the way so you have time to enjoy your life.

It’s always a good idea to put a set amount of time beside any item(s) on your list and have a variety of tasks, some which can be finished quickly and others that may take a bit longer. This way, when you have those periods throughout the day when your energy is lagging, you can look at your list and complete one of the smaller tasks. This is usually all you need to get your focus back.

Getting right to your tasks early in the day will help you accomplish more and if you do hit a period where your energy level drops, it will be easier to get back to your list later in the day if you feel you have already completed the majority of the items.

Remember to take short breaks. Getting up and moving around will increase your energy and also give your eyes a rest, especially if most of your tasks are computer related. Rushing through to finish everything as quickly as you can usually means you aren’t putting your best effort forward. Know when to stop for the day. Not completing everything isn’t the end of the world. Add any remaining items on your list to tomorrow’s to dos. Right at the top so you get to them first.

Another example of a useful list, taken from the master list gurus, is one that you will re-use, such as a grocery list, a travel list or a 4 season list. This last one is a list of the things that have to be done around your home throughout the year. Once the list is made, things can be added or subtracted from it as needed but it will save you time once the original list is there for you.

One final note; remember to keep your list up to date. Remove all completed items and those that are no longer of interest or needed. You’ll notice your productivity increase quickly and at the same time you will get much more from life!

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