What’s the secret to better to-do lists?

Be specific and make sure to include a time estimate for all tasks.

Via the WSJ:

A well-maintained list is “an essential tool for staying grounded, for saving your energy and for doing things rather than trying to remember what to do,” says Julie Morgenstern, a New York author and expert on time management.

Effective to-do lists are limited to specific tasks that can be tackled right away and finished fairly soon, Ms. Morgenstern says. Instead of listing “solve client issue,” write, “spend one hour defining the scope of client problem.”

A list should reflect a time estimate needed for each task. And it should be integrated into a calendar or schedule, to avoid “planning 17 things for tomorrow which, if you added them up, are going to take 20 hours,” Ms. Morgenstern says.

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