To-do lists are often ineffective because they are not prioritized nor timed.
So the first thing you need to do is to get a good planner.
It should be in weekly format with the first time slot starting as close to the beginning of your day as possible.
Many planners will start at 7 or 8AM and end between 6 and 8PM.
You may have to shop around the office stores to find the best one that most closely resembles your day.
Secondly, take a look at your current to-do list and start prioritizing.
What needs to be done right now?What can be done tomorrow or next week?What can you cross off the list?Many people have a hard time keeping schedules because they are too inundated with mundane tasks.
If it is something that you don't want to do, can't do or can get someone else to do, scratch it off your list! Delegate if at all possible.
Find somebody else who can do it for you instead or if it is not really pertinent to your ultimate goals, forget it altogether.
Figure out how long each task will take.
If it is something that will take several days to complete, break the task down into smaller components.
Perform phase 1 on day 1, phase 2 on day 2 and so on.
Schedule the phases in your new planner rather than the entire task.
Breaking down tasks is a good way to ensure that time-consuming tasks won't become overwhelming by trying to do it all at once.
Be very realistic with how long the task will take so that you can schedule your day effectively.
If you are unsure of exactly how long the task will take, time yourself doing a portion or imagine it in your head.
Finally, WORK YOUR SCHEDULE.
Refer to your schedule every day and reprioritize/rearrange if necessary.
Whenever there are changes to your schedule, correct them immediately in your planner.
Write all meetings/tasks in pencil so they can be easily changed when needed.
Check off or cross out each task as soon as it is completed.
Highlight tasks that are incomplete and take a moment to determine why.
Is the task still relevant?Did you allot enough time for its completion?If either of these is true then reschedule with this as your consideration.
Sticking to your schedule does not have to be difficult and can in fact be a great way to manage your time more effectively.
Simply remember to avoid tasks that won't lead you to your intended goals and be persistent in actually working your schedule.