How to Create a To-Do List That Actually Works

I have been a list maker nearly all of my adult life, but maybe this is something that you are not familiar with. In that case, I’ve got the tools and tips you need. If you have made lists but find yourself wondering how to create an effective to-do list, then you are also in the right place. This is all about a to-do list.

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List making is such a great thing to include in a course about creating streamlined mornings, and if you are new to list making, this is a great opportunity to really give it a good try.

If you have always wanted to create a daily list but have been unsure about how to do that, here are some great tips on how to go about it.

Here are some things to think about when making a to do list that actually works!
to do list

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Have a specific place

Where will you write your list? Where will you keep your list? Are you a paper and pen person or do you prefer an app on your phone or a program on your computer? Give some thought to how keeping a list will work best for you. Then, decide where you want to keep your list. For instance, if you want to carry it in your purse, size will matter in most cases if you go the paper and pen route.

I must have a paper and pen planner. I guess I’m old fashioned that way. Check out the planner I love HERE.

When it comes to making lists, keep your perfectionistic tendencies in check

In case you’re wondering, I just wrote that for me even more than I did for you. I am a recovering perfectionist, and at times these tendencies still can get out of hand. However, when making a list, being a perfectionist will only tend to make your list overwhelming. For this reason, I am suggesting that you keep your need to be perfect far, far away.

Before making your list, review the bite-sized goals that you created

If you are unsure of what I am talking about, read So, You’ve Set Some Goals, Now What? Keeping in mind that your goals are already filtered through your mission statement assures you that anything that is a goal is something that you deem worth your time to focus on. Reviewing your bite-sized goals will help you fill your list. Your list will be the vehicle you use to accomplish your bite-sized goals.

Be selective in creating your list

Creating a list that includes everything but the kitchen sink will overwhelm you before you even start. If your to-do list is too long, you won’t even want to get started since you know that completing it will never be possible. Creating a short to-do list that is effective and filled with things that are only a top priority for the day will be your friend. If you’ve never had much luck with lists before, a list that was too long could be to blame.

Consult your calendar

When making your list, take your calendar into account first. If your day is filled with appointments and other commitments, your to-do list will need to be very limited for that day. Not making adjustments for a busy day is setting your list up for failure…and who likes to fail? Be smart in making your list by checking your calendar first.

Make the time to make a list…a written out list

You may think that a list in your head will suffice, but I assure you, it won’t. When I make lists in my head, I am almost always guaranteed that in my head is where they will stay. Setting aside a time each day to work on your list (I like to do mine the night before) is key to creating a list that works.

Get creative with your list

What can you to do create a list that you want to use? If you are using a paper planner, maybe it will be special pens, stickers, or other decorations. If you are using an app or program, sometimes an upgrade will unlock some really cool features that will make the small upgrade charge worth the extra few dollars since you will actually be using it!

Carry your list with you!

This may seem pretty basic, but it is amazing how often I didn’t take my list with me when I first got started. Let’s face it, life gets in the way of our plans – a lot! For this reason, your list will need to be modified at times.

I always have a bag packed and ready by the door. This is my “to-go” bag, and it always has a few essentials in it ready to go. Check out how I create this essential tool for a busy life HERE. I can slide my planner and list right in there and head out the door with it. When I am stuck waiting for an appointment or a kid who gets out of practice late, I can still be productive with my time. My list is always in this bag when I leave!

Whether you are new to the art of list making or a seasoned pro, having some fresh tips in mind when creating an effective to-do list is always a plus. I love making a list because it frees up my brain space, it helps me be intentional in the choices I make, and it helps keep me on track, but creating an effective to-do list is of the utmost importance. Use these tips to become an effective to-do lister maker pro!

 

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