By Gina Blitstein

So you're searching for an organization system to help manage your to-do tasks and increase your productivity. In the first installment of this two-part series, entitled, "Choosing a To-Do System for Greater Productivity," I discussed best practices for approaching the undertaking of finding a new – or better – to-do system. In this article, I'll continue the journey with you, presenting guidance for evaluating and implementing such a system that's most appropriate for your unique needs and goals.

Evaluating and implementing a to-do system to help you be more productive:

Here's some advice to consider when deciding upon and implementing a to-do system that will substantially and positively impact your productivity:

  1. Evaluate each system or product based upon your preferences and style: It ultimately matters only what you think of a given solution. It's no crime to dislike a highly-touted system and find a lesser-known or less-comprehensive one that fits you like a glove. To-do systems are highly individual and will serve you best only if they best fit you.
  2. Don't over-think your process or any choice: Sure, it's an important decision but avoid the temptation to over-analyze your to-do list solution and risk becoming paralyzed in your efforts. Keep an open mind when "test-driving" to-do systems. If one doesn't feel right, try another until you feel like it's having the effect on your productivity that you're seeking.
  3. Don't bend over backwards to "fit" a system: Any solution you choose should accommodate you more than you it. Otherwise, you risk hesitating to use it, having it sabotage your productivity, and wasting the very time you're attempting to save.
  4. Remain objective: Avoid falling for promises and hype. Many systems and theories tout that they're the ultimate in increasing productivity. Make certain that such promises don't romance you into imagining progress that isn't happening, simply because you've adopted some new habits and routines.
  5. Remain realistic in your expectations: Choosing a to-do and organization system can be tremendously impactful, but don't expect it to be a life-changing experience. You'll hopefully have a better handle on what you need to do and when you need to do it, and gain some useful habits that may help you streamline your workflow. Ultimately that's it. Abandon any subconscious thoughts that it will free-up substantial amounts of time; you may gain a few hours here and there but realistically, working more productively won't mean that you can accomplish a week's work in a day.
  6. Track your progress: When you've chosen wisely, you will see improvement in your workflow, efficiency and production, so do make the effort to discover to what extent your chosen solution is having a positive impact on those factors. Once you see progress, it is very likely you'll be inspired to strive for even greater improvement, because productivity tends to breed productivity. Tracking your strides will prove to be the most effective form of reinforcement for your increased organizational habits; and ultimately, no matter the theory or system, it's the habits they support that make for success.

An enormous part of our productivity has to do with managing those tasks we commit to our to-do lists. The appropriate to-do solution can make a significant difference in the way we approach and execute our work and manage our time overall. While there are an abundance of to-do solutions available, it's worth the effort to comb through them to find one that fits your particular needs and goals. Approach your selection thoughtfully, objectively and realistically and you'll find a solution that suits you best.

Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts.

The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank.