How to write an effective to-do list
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
To-do lists are great helpers for moving things out of the way. You certainly know the feeling of satisfaction, when you can tick or cross the jobs done off the list. However, in order to be effective, the lists need to be manageable and realistic. There is nothing more frustrating then constantly rewriting huge to-do list and not having much to tick off.
To help you create to-do list which is actually enjoyable, effective and manageable I have put 6 tips together.
1. Choose a goal with the end in the mind
Then divide the goal into smaller tasks. Take these tasks and split them into smaller actions. Be as specific and detailed as possible. That way the goal will not look so daunting and by taking small actions step by step it will get completed without you feeling overwhelmed. Set your own pace, sometimes comparing to others makes us unnecessary stressed and panicking.
2. Make shorter list
If the to-do list gets too long and complicated it can actually be contra productive and cause you more stress. You can create 3 lists, one longer list for a month or even year and then weekly list and daily list. Monthly and weekly lists are handy to have in one place, e.g. in pocket journal which don't take up much space in your bag but does not get misplaced so easily as single sheets of paper. Daily list is best to complete either night before or the first thing in the morning using small paper such as post it notes to keep it short.
Not all items on the to-do list have the same priority. If you can, do urgent things from the list as soon as possible and don't postpone them for later. Procrastinating is our worst enemy. Some tasks might looks scary at first however the scarier, the more enjoyable and rewarding it is to tick them off the list. Sometimes doing something scary pushes us out of our comfort zone and allows us to grow.
4. Go back to re-evaluate unfinished tasks
If the task from the list is not finished within the intended week or other set period, then it is probably too big and could be split into smaller manageable tasks. Remember success is not big step in the future, it is series of small steps taken now. You might not get to your destination today but by taking small steps you will be closer then yesterday.
5. Be creative
Personally, I am very much pen and paper person. Creative journaling is a great way of actually enjoying making to-do lists. You can use watercolours, acrylics, washi tapes, doodling or other visual techniques to make the lists more fun, memorable and appealing. For inspiration visit my Instagram page, where I am going to post more examples for creative to-do list spreads.
6. Set yourself a reward
Something to look forward to is always good incentive for ticking off your to-do list much faster and with satisfaction. Spoil yourself a bit after the hard work.
Whether you create your list on paper or electronically, make sure that it is not too ambitious or tedious and that is enjoyable and fulfilling to work on. Have fun.