Managing time can be difficult. With all the distractions of the modern workplace, having the ability to fully commit to finishing a project can be difficult. Emails arrive that are marked “urgent,” the phone doesn’t stop ringing, or you get a text from home that causes you to lose focus. With all of these distractions, putting work first is often a difficult task.

People complain there are not enough hours in the day, but we are all given the same 24 hours to do with as we please. Knowing how to use your time wisely will allow you to live a more fulfilled life. You will be able to maintain the ideal work/life balance. There are some different techniques that can be used to help you accomplish the tasks you set out to do today and to maintain a steady workflow. One such technique that is often overlooked is the To Do list. This list, however, is one of your biggest allies when it comes to managing your day.

Prioritize

One of the best things a To Do list can do is help you prioritize what needs to be done. When starting a big project, there is usually a plethora of tasks to accomplish. It can be difficult, then, to figure out where to start.

Creating a To Do list that lets you rank what needs to be done in both urgency and importance can help you figure out the order you will work on things. Knowing where to begin is a crucial part in completing any project. Additionally, making the list itself can be a great first step of the project. By figuring out which part needs to be worked on first, you can begin organizing the work that needs to be done on a macro level, which will give you an overall idea of how much work is required to finish the project as a whole.

Manage

When starting any large project, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that needs to be done. By breaking the whole project down into tasks on a To Do list, you can start to see how the project is manageable, if only in small bits. It is quite easy to get discouraged and then not even begin because you think you’re going to fail before you get started. Having a To Do list will break the project down into its components, which can help you get over the initial fear of inadequacy.

Additionally, making the project into a To Do list can help you delegate tasks to others who are willing to help. Without a list of things that need to be done, it would be almost impossible for somebody to come in and accomplish anything of significance. Utilizing a list that can explain what that person should do and how they can help can be instrumental in allowing a group to finish a project in a timely manner.

Track

A To Do list is also a great way to track a project’s progress. Those project managers that have gone through pmp boot camp and are PMP certified can attest to using To Do lists in their everyday work life. A To Do list can be used as a checklist of sorts, which allows for greater project oversight by the manager.

Furthermore, a To Do list allows a team member to “check off” when a task is completed. Not only will this alert the project manager and other members of the team to a finished part of the project, it also gives the team member the satisfaction of saying “this part is done.” Being able to see that there is progress on the project, no matter how incremental, will help boost the team’s morale and allow them to put forth their best work.