Time management, at its best, boosts your efficiency and effectiveness so that you accomplish necessary tasks and find time for what matters most. Whether you are an entrepreneur, a busy mom, a coach, a student, or anyone with a full plate, your To Do List is key to your success.

But sometimes, a swiftly approaching deadline and an overflowing To Do List can become so overwhelming that you want to run and hide.

That’s a sure sign that you need to stop, take a breath, and tweak your To Do List so that it’s your ally not your task master. Here are 3 timely tips to help you turn those overwhelming situations around and keep your lists working for you!

You see, you can use lists to optimize your productivity AND your satisfaction. And it takes just 5 minutes at the beginning and end of your day. That’s a small amount of time to invest for such a powerful outcome, don’t you think?

So here are the 3 timely tips to make your To Do List your friend:

1. Think of Your To Do List as Your Daily Roadmap.

Finding the time to create your Daily Roadmap begins with getting a bird’s eye view of the terrain. Basically, you need to give yourself an overview, starting from where you are and ending with where you’d like to be at the end of the day. It’s helpful, as you do this, to note any barriers you might encounter and to include as many details as possible about the tasks you’ll need to accomplish.

This is the heart of your process; everything else rests on it. Neglecting this daily, basic planning is like setting out into a strange city without a compass or GPS device. You are setting yourself up to lose your bearings … and lose time!

Of course, even with the best plan in the world, you can’t account for the unexpected. In all likelihood you’ll need to make adjustments as your day unfolds. This is where you experience one of the powerful gifts that planning gives you: It helps you begin to see what your priorities are. This means that when something unforeseen throws you off track, you can quickly decide what you can let go of (or what ‘alternate routes’ are okay to take).

2. Prioritize and Consolidate Tasks.

This step provides you with huge dividends and really only requires a few minutes here and there. It’s best to go with your gut here – don’t over-think. Just scan your To Do List and quickly highlight the 3 tasks that you absolutely want to accomplish, no matter what.

These are your top priorities. And what a great stress reducer, to have that clarified before you embark on your day! Anything else you accomplish is a bonus. This is a powerful way to short-circuit overwhelm and reframe your To Do List as a positive motivator rather than that demanding task master that you want to avoid.

Another helpful step you can take is to scan your list for tasks that are similar. If they can be combined, this will save you time and help you maintain your focus. You could do all your computer-related tasks at a certain time, for example. Or group your errands by locale.

3. Tweak it for Tomorrow.

Reserve time every night to review and tweak your To Do List. Your list is an ever-evolving document that travels with you from one day to the next. And remember, it’s YOUR list. The key is that it be useful to you and be your ALLY in accomplishing your goals.

So, take a few moments when you can be relaxed and focused. You’ll want to quickly review your day, validate your accomplishments, adjust your priorities, and reflect on (and appreciate!) any lessons learned. Then take a deep breath and let go of it all as you head to bed.

Letting go is actually one of the most helpful benefits of this process. When you come to the end of your day, you don’t need to carry any worries with you into the night (or the coming day). You know that your list includes everything necessary, and you can relax, knowing that you will prioritize and start addressing what you need to in the morning.

And to move toward your Heart-Based Time Success, sign up for our free gift, the Finding Time Success Kit, which includes "The New Finding Time Boundary Template: 9 Simple, Sequential Steps to Find More Time and Recharge Your Energy!" Using a workbook format this powerful and practical time template helps you progress beyond disappointment and frustration. Discover that 24 hours really are enough!

Offered by Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder Expert.

Author's Bio: 

Paula Eder, PhD is an internationally-known coach and published author who specializes in mentoring heart-based entrepreneurs and small business owners, from the inside out, to align their core values and energy with their time choices and behaviors. This helps them make more money, create more freedom, and find more time.

You can learn more about Paula’s unique, Heart-Based Time Management™ System and begin your transformational journey by signing up for her Finding Time Success Kit. Follow your heart-based path to finding time for what matters most.