Revamp Your To-Do List to Stop Procrastinating

You know how I love lists…but I realize that sometimes they can overwhelm us.  Even I’ve been a little stressed by all of the things on my to-do list from time to time.

This panic can lead to putting off what you need to get accomplished –- but it doesn’t have to!  By simply modifying HOW you make your lists — you will cut down on procrastination.

Here are 5 ways to revamp your to-do list and be more productive:

1. Break up your list into sections. By making lists in categories like “job, family, home” — you will be less overwhelmed and be able to tackle each one individually.

2. Make lists by deadline. Again — this technique will help you prioritize between things that need to be done today, tomorrow, next week, next month, and in your lifetime! If you have these bite-sized lists as opposed to one long list — you are less likely to procrastinate because it won’t seem as daunting.

3. Make sure your list is visible. Whether you use handwritten lists or an online program or app to keep track of your lists – they must be easy to access. It’s very easy to push your tasks aside if they aren’t right in front of you. Keep your handwritten list in the same place everyday. If you make online lists — check it at the same time everyday to see what you need to focus on for the day.

4. Set reminders. It’s easy to ignore your to-do list and never check off the tasks that need to get done. But if you set reminders you will remember to look at the list. I do this several times throughout the day by sending meeting makers in Outlook for things I need to remember to do. In addition to my handwritten list – these pop-up reminders help me to get everything done on deadline.

5. Reward yourself. It’s OK to bribe yourself a bit to get tasks done. It worked when your mother did it when you were a kid, right? Well – the same goes for grown-ups. So make little deals with yourself when it comes to your to-do list. “When I finish this item – then I can get a pedicure as a prize!” Positive reinforcement really works.

For more to-do list mistakes and fixes — check out this article where I give more tips in “How To: List Service” from Whole Living magazine.

9 replies
  1. Dr. Shannon Reece
    Dr. Shannon Reece says:

    Thanks Paula! I have taken a deep breath and will dive in again. 🙂 I am trying to get reorganized and rework my to-do lists after returning from a lengthy holiday. Just what I needed to read today. Shannon

  2. Zoe
    Zoe says:

    OMG I so do this!!! How funny to discover others have this system. Also, I try to pay attention to the items on the list/s that seem to constantly be rewritten on the next list, after so many others have been checked or scratched off. After a while it becomes quite clear what never gets done.


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