How to Create Your To Do List
Everyone has created a to do list at one time or another. How useful they are and how effective they are however, can vary. Ever felt like a to do list just made your things to do just feel more daunting? Ever add things you already did to your list just so you can check things off? In this post we will talk about how to create a to do list that causes less stress, and helps you feel accomplished at the end of the day.
This is the first step in creating your to do list and can be done either first thing in the morning or right before bed. I personally prefer creating my list before bed. I feel that when I write done what I have to get done before bed, it helps clear my brain and allows me to fall asleep faster and easier. So, for the brain dump, you list everything thing you can think of that has to get done. This can be work related, family related, personal; just anything you need to get done. Examples can include complete a project at work, buy a gift for someone, file out paperwork for child’s school, etc. This list can and should be far more than you could ever hope to accomplish in one day. This list should be written down, on paper. If you want to add it to your phone later by taking a picture of it or something, that’s fine, but initially, it should be on paper.
Once you have listed everything you can think of, it’s time to prioritize. This is the hard part, but the most important. You need to look at your list and choose the 3 things that must happen today. That’s it, three things. These are the things that must happen today no matter what. For example, if your work project is due today, that’s one of the things on your list. If the birthday party is 2 weeks away, maybe buying a present is not a must do, yet. When you first try this, you may feel a little cut-throat, but you really can’t do it all. Why stress yourself with a huge unwieldy list that you definitely cannot complete. Once you pick your three things, write them down on the opposite side of your paper. This is your to do list.
Now when you start your day, you have a plan for what needs to get done. If possible, try to complete these tasks early in the day, so you know that they will get done. If I have a blog post to write, I try to get it done as early in the day as possible, that way when things come up, its already done. A bonus is if you complete your 3 things early on, you can flip your list over and try to do something else on your mega list. This should definitely seen as a bonus. You only need to complete your 3 items for the day. At the end of the day your whole to do list will be completed and some days you might even get more done. How’s that for your sense of accomplishment at the end of the day!
For the following day, your brain dump should be that much quicker. You can take the items that didn’t make the cut the day before and add any new tasks that have come up. The repeat the process daily and see how much you can accomplish in a week! Having a manageable to do list does wonders for your frame of mind. Sometimes when we have too much to do, it’s hard to even find where to start. But with only three things to do, you can feel far more motivated to get things done.
Hope this helps with your to do list!
Emily Bendler is a mom, wife, full-time insurance adjuster, professional dancer, dance teacher, graduate student, and founder of I Hope You Dance, Inc., a non-profit supporting youth dance. Read how Emily used her dance ambitions to become a time management maven. Feel free to send Emily a message using the email me tab above.