You look to the left and you see a pile of dishes that needs cleaning. You look to the right and you see a pile of laundry that needs folding. You get a little hungry, and your refrigerator is just a few steps away.
At home, there are a number of distractions you face. Add your professional life into the mix, and things are sure to get complicated.
Working from home — especially if it’s your first time — can be extremely daunting. You may also be trying to homeschool your kids, care for your aging parents, or coexist with your spouse (who may also be working from home) — all while trying to manage your workday.
Minor things can become rabbit holes that turn a 5-minute task into an hour-long one, and before you know it, your day is gone. Plus, let’s face it — you’re probably not getting a full 8-hour workday when your kids, your spouse, your parents, and your dog are taking up your time.
Working from home requires focus. You need to have a tried-and-true approach to going head down and tuning out all of those other things that may be calling for your attention — and that can be challenging without structure.
In order to be successful, focus on what can realistically be accomplished and have a plan for each day. Here’s how to make that happen.
The Importance Of A To-Do List
I used to just braindump all of the tasks I needed to finish into a typical list format, but I (thankfully) no longer use that to guide my daily tasks. Trust me when I say that you will benefit from structure and grouping than a slew of to-dos.
A randomly thrown-together to-do list doesn’t group tasks that require similar brain activity. And by using one, you can end up feeling very scatter-brained when you bounce from one task to another when those tasks require different modes of thinking.
For instance, if you need to plow through emails, plow through emails. It’s not usually productive to shift from emails to invoices to a team meeting then back to emails.
The original idea for this organized to-do list came from my colleague, VP, Client Strategy, Rebecca Steurer. She’s a planner (that’s why she’s the strategist on our team). She came up with an original draft that, when I looked at it, immediately changed my life.
She grouped her tasks into similar categories on one sheet of paper, and magically, it made my day look doable. It made all of my mountain of things to get done look like they could be accomplished.
I’ve since modified it for people in an administrative role where you have such a mixture of things to do every day. You just need structure to move through that mixture.
Also, I’ve included categories that are more personal. It’s important not to forget your personal goals because let’s face it, those don’t stop just because you have a mountain of work tasks to get done. You still need to stay on top of your health, you still need to eat, you still need to have positivity to keep you grounded.
So, without further ado, here’s the template for the best to-do list geared towards healthcare professionals.