You probably have a To Do List. Whenever a new task comes in you just add it to the To Do List. This way you can rest assured that you won’t forget about it. But there is a very dangerous habit that can appear when we use To Do Lists.

For example, someone asks us to do something. We say “Sure, I’ll add it to my To Do List”. And in it goes. On top of a mountain of other tasks that will never get completed. Just having a To Do List is not enough to manage time effectively. We also need to manage our To Do Lists.

The next time someone asks you to do something, try instead to say “I’ll get back to you when I’ve checked my schedule”. Then note it down it very quickly in your To Do List. Then, when you have the time, review your schedule and start adding things from your To Do List to your schedule. If you can add that person’s request to your schedule, then let them know when you will get it done.

If your schedule is too packed, then get back to that person and let them know you won’t have time. Or if you want to be really polite then let them know the earliest possible time you can add it to your schedule.

To Do Lists are great. But they need managing effectively. So frequently take the time to review your To Do List and schedule times on your calendar to tackle each task that’s in there. The better you get at scheduling, the easier your life will be.

So next time you get asked to do something, remember not to commit to anything until you’re certain you can add it to your schedule.