I love To-Do Lists. Honestly, if I write something down on a list that I will see often, then it will be completed. If I do not write it down, it will not get done. Well, it will, eventually. However, it might have been forgotten about and then I rush to get it done at the last minute. I do not forget it because it is not important or because I do not want to do it. I am likely to forget it because I always have so many new ideas and thoughts running through my head pulling me in a million directions every day.
My professional life consists of working in student activities. This means advising student organizations, preparing leadership development workshops, developing assessment methods, mentoring students and planning numerous events. There is always something that has to be done. For me, writing down tasks keeps me organized. It ensures I am not missing anything.
Currently, I use a rectangular lined note pad with To-Do at the top. I write down everything on the pad. There have been times where I had three pages filled with things to do. (And yes, I get super excited to cross things off the list.) It is helpful because I know if I write it down, I will do it. The to-do’s range in multiple types from top priority to tasks without a deadline.
In addition to my To-Do list, I use my email as another reminder of things to do. My goal is to have a zero inbox. I have folders organized by year and then by program or committee. If something still needs to be completed, it stays in my inbox. I read all the emails and respond to the ones that need a quick response. If an email requires an action other than a quick response, I complete the tasks by priority. Using this system allows me to focus on what I need to do and not feel over whelmed with tons of emails.
One of the best compliments I hear from students and my supervisor is that I am organized and reliable.
I believe that writing down tasks, prioritizing them and motivating myself to accomplish all tasks allows me to be the best Assistant Director of Student Involvement. I am also setting a great example for the students I work so closely with.
We all have our methods for getting things done. I am not suggesting what I do is the right way. I am only suggesting what has been successful for me. My advice is to find what works for you and continue to do it.