Some To-Do List Secrets

I’ve been making to-do lists for as long as I can remember. Work stuff, personal stuff, blog stuff…you name it…I’ve made a to-do list about it. But I understand that not everyone does this and it may not come as easily to others. So I’m going to give you some of my list-making secrets.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by your list and ignore it. But the benefits of a to-do list are vast. If you make a well-constructed list it will work to your advantage. Here’s how to make the ultimate to-do list and stick to it.

1. Just Write it Down: It’s easy to forget things that you don’t have right in front of you. So write down any task you need to do as soon as you think about it. It doesn’t matter if the list is in any particular order right now – just write it down.

2. Organize Your List: Once you know all the things you have to do — organize this list. Break it up into categories: work, home, kids, play, etc. Each area of your life should have it’s own list. Don’t mix — it will just overwhelm you and then you will ignore your list.

3. Prioritize: Once you have your separate lists – go over each item and order them by deadline or importance. This will help you stay on track and only focus on what needs to be done right now. Sure there may be other tasks that are easier to do but might not be as important. Reject your temptation to jump into those tasks first just because they are easy – it will just put you behind schedule.

4. Re-Write: Now that you’ve organized your list by category and decided what’s most important – rewrite your list. By making a clean list that is easy to read you will be more likely to refer to it and check things off in order.

5. Repeat: In order to get things accomplished – make as many lists as you need to make. I make a list everyday and then add to it. Sure it’s like a little cheat sheet – but it will make you more efficient.



19 replies
  1. J
    J says:

    I used to be a compulsive list maker until I stopped due to not getting the things done on my list. This started to drag me down a lot, I felt lazy, and horrible about myself. My lists began to include things that I had to do months out (like car registration in Feb, tax’s in April etc)
    Do you have any suggestions on how I can start my list making again, but not get down on myself when things don’t get done? It’s almost as if my brain begins to procrastinate even more when I make my lists.

  2. Laurie Meek
    Laurie Meek says:

    I tell all of my organizing clients that they shouldn’t use the back of an envelope or scratch paper for their lists. Instead I suggest that they use a cute clipboard or pad of paper to write their tasks. Generally to do lists are instantly overwhelming but if they are on a happy piece of paper it might make it a little less painful to start knocking the items off. Enjoy the weekend!

  3. Gina
    Gina says:

    I used to make to-do lists but have gotten away from it, I started up again this week after finding your blog. I found myself going over it this morning before leaving for work. Thank you.


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