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How a "To Do" List can be your Best Friend


grey desk with a silver pen, green plant and an open spiral notebook that says "to do list" followed by list of numbers 1 to 5.

"Success is never getting to the bottom of your to-do list"

- Marissa Meyer



Is your head swimming with "to-do's"? Are you losing sleep or unable to concentrate because your brain is constantly reminded of tasks? If so, you are not alone.


Everyone is guilty of jamming their minds full of tasks and they can vary from mundane to vital. No matter the type, allowing them to take up valuable space in the mind creates anxiety, stress and an increased likelihood that important items will be missed or forgotten.


In my last blog article, I talked about Time Management and outlined some simple tips you can start doing to make the best of each day. One of those was creating To-Do Lists. Whether you like to use sticky notes, a journal or an application on your phone/tablet, these lists will soon become your best friends.


Listed below are 5 tips to help get you started on the right foot by creating manageable and obtainable To-Do Lists.


  1. To-Do Lists should become a daily routine. Take a few moments in the morning to "download" your daily list of tasks so you are no longer thinking about them throughout the day.

  2. To-Do Lists should be prepared the day before instead of the day of. This is especially important when you are first creating this daily routine. It will help you to manage your expectations.

  3. To-Do Lists should be manageable and should not exceed more tasks that can be reasonably accomplished in a day. Start small (1-3 tasks) on your list and then add more as you feel comfortable. Seeing a list with too many tasks can be overwhelming and stressful.

  4. Tasks on your To-Do List should be prioritized in the order in which they need to be completed. This will also help you in identifying those tasks that need to be accomplished now versus can be put off for another day.

  5. Check off items from your To-Do list as you complete them. This will provide you with a sense of accomplishment. Never forget to reward yourself!


Daily To-Do lists can help to create routines and identify changes to your schedule to help you accomplish more in a shorter amount of time.


Taking some time each day to organize your thoughts and focus on what needs to be done will remove stress, stay organized & be more attentive to your daily limitations.

 

To-Do lists are also a great way to be visual reminders of long-term goals. Not all of those thoughts and tasks you have in your head are designed for immediate action.


Transferring these tasks to a list (paper or digital) will prevent you from ruminating. It also allows you a chance to categorize them in a way that best works for you.


These tasks can be organized by week/month/quarter, family member, or even activity. Whatever the approach, doing this exercise will make sure all tasks are accounted for and feel less anxious about upcoming events.


You can always pull items from this list and add them to your daily to-do lists when the time is right, and new items can be added to this "backlog" as you think of new tasks/items.

 

Using the tips listed above and now learning how versatile and helpful to-do lists can be, I encourage you to start adding this small task to your daily routine.


Start small. Ease into it and even add simple items that you know for a fact you can accomplish (or have already accomplished) to your lists to feel positive and motivated to keep this habit up.


Before you know it, you'll be the master of those daily tasks & have a new BFF!

 

Ready to get started?


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About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, virtual and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.






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