I didn’t always love lists. I rebelled against them for a time, convinced that, with creativity on my side, I didn’t need something ordinary and boring like organization. Strangely enough, I am a very organized person, so this little rebellious phase didn’t last too long.
Lists are now one of my most-utilized tools for absolutely everything, and in the spirit of sharing resources, I’ve decided to give you the inside scoop on how to make your To Do lists work for you.
Write down your goals
It’s been proven that physically writing down your goals will help you achieve them, so capture those far-flung dreams and put them on the page. Most of mine live in cute journals along with Bible study notes, doodles, quotes from books I read, and mini To Do lists. Whenever I flip back through old notes, I’ll be reminded of these goals and can sometimes cross them off.
~ride on a train
~write a book
~learn how to do a headstand
~get a walk-in closet
~meet internet friends in real life
Make a new list every day
Make a list of things you’d like to finish in one day. And I don’t mean just the work-related stuff. If you have to bathe your pet, go to the post office, make a phone call, want to read for the afternoon, or have last-minute dinner plans pop up, put them on your day’s To Do list, too.
Chances are good you won’t actually finish all of the items on your list, but that’s not actually the point. By tracking how much you’ve accomplished in one day, you’re teaching yourself to set manageable expectations on yourself.
Pro Tip: If you, like me, tend to get stressed about getting stuff done, write your list the night before so that your brain can relax for the night.
Keep a To Done list
When we’re rolling through one day after the next, one list done another begun, it’s perfectly normal to totally zone out on how much you’ve actually accomplished. To combat feeling woefully behind schedule or guilty for not doing enough, I keep all my old To Do lists for a whole month so that I can go back through and acknowledge the hard work I put in and the progress I’ve made. What I don’t advise is keeping a stack of old lists behind your keyboard like I do. Especially if you share your office space with a neat freak (sorry, mom).
Make it work for you
As with a lot of organizational, motivational, or productivity-increasing hacks, it’s easy to become a slave to the process without actually making any progress. If keeping To Do lists is distracting you from getting anything done, then what’s the point? If something isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to ditch it in favor of a method that works for you. Nobody’s judging.
If it can be cute, make it so
Maybe it’s because I’m kind of artsy, but pretty things always make me feel more motivated. Even though a lot of my daily lists are on scrap paper or plain old notebook paper, I do what I can to keep them easy on the eyes.
How I make my To Do lists pretty:
~use colored markers to cross off completed tasks
~add a border and/or cute bullet points
~practice lettering or using neater print
~doodling in the margins
~use cute stationary or a fun notepad
Are you a list keeper? What are your pro tips for keeping a To Do list?