Productive To do lists are everywhere!  I heard about another “must have” to do list app just yesterday.
Do these to do list apps help or hinder your productivity?  Are there actual features that will make you and I productive?   Which features will give me confidence that nothing important will be over looked?  How can I assure my time is being spent on the activity that will produce results?

Productive To Do List Must Haves

Here we establish key criteria for selecting a To Do List tool.  Once the criteria is set I’ll examine several To Do Apps/Tools to see how they measure up.  Here are the key functions you want your to do list to have for productivity perfection!

1. Vision/Mission, Roles And Goals

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey teaches that productive people keep their eye on the prize.  Their primary purpose is always front and center despite the pull of urgent pressures of the moment.  Regular connection with your Mission/Vision and Roles and Goals keeps you true to the truly important.  If your To Do List does not allow you to see your action items in light of the larger purpose and cause you just may be  missing the key to your personal productivity.

2. Master To Do List

Every proponent of personal productivity agrees you need a system to capture and process the daily demand placed upon you.  David Allen, author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, suggests a single “master list” is the key to less stress.  Stress goes up when you stumble over yourself searching through several to do lists. It  is very difficult to trust your system when you are looking all over the place for the next “To Do” item.
Whatever tool you choose you want to be able to quickly and easily pull everything into your master To Do List.  To Do List tools that make this collection into a master list a challenge should be dropped immediately.  Getting items onto the “Master To Do” list should happen in the flow everyday activity. Does your To Do List make adding, sorting and editing items easy?

3. Productive To Do List Establishing Importance

When you are hit with stuff to do you need to decide if it is worthy of your time.  Your To Do List needs to help you make that important determination.  How do YOU determine if something to do is “important”?  Do you use a deadline date?  A status of “active”, “next action” or “planning”?  Do you decide to do it if it has a High Priority?  Everybody seems to rely on different rules for deciding importance.  You’ll want a To Do List tool that works like you do in placing a “importance” status on your next action item so you don’t miss it.

4. Context – Is Id Doable Where You Are?

Productive to do List Your key to now productivity
Some items on your to do list can only be done in certain settings. Can I call an associate at 5 am in the morning? Probably not.  The context of that call is during waking/business hours.   Some activities are only “doable” at your desk.  Others only at a certain location in town or when you are  out and about.  Your to do list should let you see the important  items you need at the time and place they can be completed.  Context clues in a to do list let’s helps you assure you are working productively where you are without being bothered by things you cannot do there.  Does your to do list provide you context to keep you productive?

 5. Related To Do Steps Make for a Nice Project

When you have several tasks to complete to accomplish a larger goal you have yourself a project.  Does your to do list let you tie related items together in a project or are you fighting to find related items when you are working to chip away at that looming project?  Project management in your personal to do list is inevitable.  Make sure you can group to do items into “projects” for efficiency.

6. Will You Work With Me?

Lastly your to do list will not live in a world along.  There is a strong chance you will need to delegate to others.  Some of the to do list tools actually let you delegate tasks to team members.  In today’s connected world it is nice to have confidence your team is on the same page.  Many to do lists let you work together.  This increases productivity. You are not in this alone!
Does your to do list play well with others?  Not only the people on your team but does your to do list make it easy to connect with the technologies, tools and systems that make up out connected society?  This may be more important to you if you are well connected.  It will matter for sure when you have many people working with different tools and technologies.

Grab Back Your Life! Get the Productive To Do List Tool for You!

Are you productive?  Can you improve? I’m always looking for ways to work smarter. Are you?  The 6 key elements of personal productivity are now ready to be put to the test.
Test 1 – Are these really the keys to productivity for you? Please Comment. Let me know what else needs to be considered.
Test 2 – Is there a favorite Productive  To Do List tool you want to see put to the test?  So far I have suggestions to run tests on  ToodleDo, Wunderlist, Remember the Milk and Nozbe.  Add your comments…What is your favorite productive to do list tool?
I look forward to your comments.
Teach Jim Strengthen The Feeble Knees