How to Prioritize Your To-Do List

When your to-do list is a mile long and a majority of the tasks at hand are high-priority, it can be extremely overwhelming. How do I tackle it all? How can I prioritize the important tasks? When am I ever going to get this all done?

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At any given time my to do list for work alone is at least one to two pages, with my personal to do list usually around a page. In short: that’s a lot of shit to get done and with only a limited amount of hours in a day to get it done, it can become very overwhelming. At first, I was writing my to-do lists at the beginning of the day and trying to check off as much as possible and repeating this the next day, and the day after that. Not productive.

Eventually, my daily to-do list for work was leaking over into my personal life and my personal to-do list wasn’t getting any of the attention it deserved. Does this sound like an issue you’re facing, too?

Let’s get your to-do list prioritized.

1. Start looking at your to-do list as a way to organize your week

Even though you might not know everything you need to get done on Monday, writing down what you do know you need to do is a great start and add other tasks to the list as they come up. Obviously you won’t be able to get a week full of tasks done in one day, but this running to do list will be able to help you schedule out your week.

2. Utilize one highlighter to mark high priority tasks

Once your to-do list is in place, grab a highlighter to note the tasks that are high priority. Don’t just highlight the tasks that have deadlines coming up, either! Mark any high priority client, tasks that are important to you, and any work that needs to be done for meetings. Using a highlighter to do this helps the important tasks stick out more and not get lost in the shuffle.

Try not to go crazy and stick to one highlighter color to help avoid any feelings of being overwhelmed!

3. Once your to-do list is laid out, use it as an outline to plan your week

Now that you have your to-do list written out, take all of the high priority tasks and start scheduling your week out around the time you have set to complete those tasks. Once you have that time schedule out, start filling in any holes in your day with the remainder of your to-do list.

Don’t forget to keep some open time each day to focus on things that come up during the week!

4. Be realistic about deadlines

I mentioned this quickly above, but I had been creating a to-do list that was long AF and I was expecting to get everything crossed off in one day. When it comes down to it, this was not realistic at all. By setting realistic deadlines for each tasks and scheduling your day, prioritizing your to-do list is much, much easier and you’ll start crossing off completed tasks faster!

By organizing and prioritizing my to-do list this way, I’ve been able to eliminate unnecessary stress and get more done each day than ever before!

How do you prioritize your to-do list?


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17 Comments

  1. 2.27.19
    Hillary Conheady said:

    These are some great tips!! I definitely need to be more realistic about deadlines and not take on projects if it is going to stress me out!

    • 2.27.19
      Rachel said:

      I am the worst with deadlines, especially when they’re personal. Time to be better about giving ourselves some time off!

  2. 2.27.19
    Rach said:

    I pretty much do the same thing too! I’ve also learned the hard way how I need to be realistic with deadlines. Otherwise, it is just added stress!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

    • 2.27.19
      Rachel said:

      Yesss! I was wondering why I was so stressed all the time and realized it’s because I was trying to squeeze 7 days of work into 1 day!

  3. 2.27.19
    Liz said:

    I love these tips! I tend to get overwhelmed with my to do list so I’m definitely going to try the highlighter trick!

    • 2.27.19
      Rachel said:

      It’s the best! I always use orange!

  4. 2.27.19
    Anna English said:

    I wouldn’t be able to survive without a daily to-do list! These tips are great.

    • 2.27.19
      Rachel said:

      Thanks, Anna!

  5. 2.27.19

    Great tips – thanks for sharing, love!

    xoxo Sarah

    • 2.27.19
      Rachel said:

      Thanks, lady!

  6. 2.27.19
    Lee said:

    I love this post! I am a to-do list addict – i make them every day, somewhat obsessively. I love the tips you shared here, I think these will help me be a bit more calm with my list making!

  7. 2.28.19
    Lyddiegal said:

    It’s hard when you list overwhelms you and I often feel like I have too much and then get paralyzed and feel like I can’t get anything done. I think having one short list for the day works, and gives me a sense of completion.
    http://iamchiconthecheap.com

  8. 2.28.19
    Lisa Autumn said:

    Being realistic is so important!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

  9. 3.1.19
    Kelsey said:

    Love posts like this! It’s always great to hear tips that can help in your everyday life!

  10. 3.3.19

    I love creating to-do lists. The only way I can get things done.

  11. 3.3.19
    Stephanie said:

    Oh MAN. Using a highlighter to mark high-priority items is a great idea. I swear by my planner for getting everything accomplished – but sometimes I miss the big things. Great suggestions here, girlfriend!

  12. 3.4.19

    I LOVE these tips, it’s so important to make a to-do list, that way you don’t miss anything!