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Making A Proper To Do List

Make To Do Lists

Today’s topic is the controversial “To Do List”. Why is it controversial? Because some people swear by them and some people think they’re useless. Of course, when organizing, different things work for different people, but if you’ve failed with to do lists before, I’d love for you to try this approach.

When possible, make your list at the first opportunity to relax in the morning. I like to make mine while having my first cup of coffee and checking email. If you’re like me, you feel like there are a million things you need to do today and that feeling can be really overwhelming. The truth is, if you put off your list until later in the day, you’re likely to procrastinate to the point that your list becomes ineffective. Conversely, if you make your list before going to bed, you’re likely to load it down with way more items than you can and/or should do.

I try to keep my lists simple. If I look at the list and feel overwhelmed, I know I need to re-write it to be shorter. The first step is writing down all the appointments for the day or places you need to be. This not only reinforces your schedule in your mind, but also places a reminder on your page so you don’t forget to allot the proper time while accomplishing the rest of the tasks.

Always schedule appointments into to do list

Next, list the errands that need to be run that day. There should be a space between each section. Not only will that allow you to add things you may have initially forgotten, but it also creates a visual space between tasks that makes the list seem less overwhelming.

Schedule errands into to do list

In your 3rd and final section, list out any phone calls or miscellaneous items. This is usually where I list things that can be done around the house.

Fill in your organized to do list

Some final tips:

  • I highly recommend using actual paper and pen. There’s something satisfying about writing the list out and crossing things off. That accomplished feeling doesn’t typically come when using an app or notes on your computer.
  • I like to use plain old spiral notebooks for my lists. The notebooks have plenty of space to write, they’re not distracting and they stay in the bulky book until the day is done.
  • At the end of the night or before your next list in the morning, tear the used to do list out of the notebook and throw it away (even if you didn’t accomplish everything). Looking at old, half-done to do lists piling up will do you no good! If there are items that are not completed, decide if they should go on the next day’s list or if they even need to be completed at all. If they’re not completed because you procrastinated to avoid them, try to figure out what is making this hurtle so big in your mind and try to devise a plan to work past it.
  • Keep your list realistic! Seriously, no more than 10 items. If you absolutely need more than 10, make your list with only the 10 most important items. At the point that list is completed, create a new one. Bogging yourself down with a long list will create more anxiety and less productivity!

What’s on your list today?


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