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We all want busy practices and busy businesses. Or do we? Did you rush around today, frantically trying to get everything on your “To Do” list done, only to end your day with the realization that you didn’t even make a dent in it? Did your “To Do” list become more of a “Didn’t Do” list?

Following are tips to help turn your “To Do” List into a “Today” list.

Busy Does Not Equal Productive
Busy is not the same as productive. Busy is juggling multiple tasks, distractions and diversions, most of which inhibit productivity. Busy creates stress and chaos. Being productive requires focus and discipline. Productive means getting results that are visible and measurable. Productivity builds businesses and produces rewards. Here are three tips that may help you to be less busy and more productive.

Replace Your “To Do” List With a “Today” List
The first step toward productivity could be as simple as replacing your “To Do” list with a “Today” list. Just listing what needs to be done is a good start, and does help ensure that you don’t forget things. An effective “Today” list is also prioritized and has specific times assigned to each task on the list to ensure that you have dedicated time when you are focused on getting that one thing done. So throw out your old “To Do” list and replace it with the much more productive “Today” list.

There’s an App For That
Actually, there are many. The one I use is called Planner Plus (sorry Android fans, it’s currently only available for iPhone and iPad). There’s a free version, which is great for a trial run and to see if you’ll actually use it. It lets you integrate your multiple calendars, notes, events, projects, and prioritize tasks all in one place. If you’re disciplined enough to use it to help you take control of your day, I highly recommend upgrading to the full version. It’s less than a couple of cups of coffee at Starbucks, and it will allow you to sync between multiple devices, manage more complex projects, and add unlimited tasks and notes.

Prefer Pen and Paper?
There are studies that show that physically writing things down helps many people to remember things better. If this is true for you, forget the sticky notes. Buy a nice leather planner. There’s psychology behind the value we place on something that feels good and looks good. Whether you prefer a pocket planner or a larger desk planner, the important thing is to choose a size you’ll keep with you and use. Be sure each day is broken down into ½ hour time blocks. Finally, consider color-coding your tasks to keep track of priorities.

Make It a Habit
It takes twenty-one days to form a habit so be disciplined and stick with it. You’ll have this down in no time and while everyone else is waiting for the New Year to make a productivity resolution, you’ll already have it mastered!

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