I bet you have a ‘to do list’ – maybe it’s written down, maybe it’s just in your head, but I bet you have a list of things that you want to do.
It could be a list for the day
It could be a list for the week
It could be a list of things to do before you’re 50
It could be a bucket list
We all do it, and it’s not a bad thing. It helps us to be focussed on what we want to achieve and how we will do it. Which is great – up to a point. That point is when the ‘to do list’ becomes a burden. It becomes another thing that’s stressing us out.
So what can we do about it?
Well one of the first things you can do is to prioritise it.
Split your list down into sections.
Start with 3 things that HAVE to be done today.
This achieves a couple of things. Firstly it does that focussing thing again. You will be much more likely to achieve a small list of things that are important, than a great big list of things that you can postpone. Secondly, you will feel better when you start to tick things off that list. That in itself can give you motivation to keep at it. Now I know some of you will be saying that your ‘Have to be done lists’ are much longer than 3 items long, and I’m sure that’s true, but if you really had to put just 3 things down what would they be?
Secondly go with 3 things that you would like to do today.
These are not desperately important things, but things that you would like to get done. If you make it to these things – fantastic, Well done you – you probably deserve a treat of some sort – has someone put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea? By achieving anything on this list you are doing well. You may even be ticking off things that would be on tomorrows must do list – that’s great! You are such a winner!
Thirdly have a Not to do list.
This list is just as important. Maybe the things on it are time wasters – hobby jobs that you do even though you don’t have to. Maybe they are completely unproductive like playing Candy Crush or watching rubbish daytime TV. What ever they are, they are not helping you to tick off the important things on your list. Get rid of them until your to do list is done.
Finally have a Done list.
Don’t forget what you’ve achieved. Celebrate the fact that you have completed tasks that were important to you. If you don’t do this you can sometimes feel that you’ve worked all day for absolutely nothing. If that is how you feel, why would you want to do it all over again the next day? By recognising what you have achieved and the impact that has on your goals you can feel rightly proud of yourself.
So you’ve done it – you have your list. What are you waiting for? Get on with it already!
2 responses to “How to write an effective To Do list (and a Not to do list)”
Great reading! I have several lists and have had for a long time. What to do, and to do today. I go through them from time to time. I have found that it works well for me. They are all on my desk in my studio. I tick off and I rewrite. New paper. Always feels good. I can really recommend it. It always feels good to tick off things and to throw away an old list. 😊 Pelle
Playing Candy Crush is always on the top of my to-do list! I have been having trouble with recognizing what I have accomplished. I think the idea of keeping a list for what I got done is a great idea. I will not be adding Candy Crush to it.