List-Making Reboot Experiment


BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? CLICK HERE to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.


I have made my to-do list the same way for quite a long time because it works really well for me.

I make a daily list every night before I leave my desk. I think about everything that needs to happen the next day, and I write down everything I have the time and the resources to do. 

I’ve written two books on list making: Listful Thinking and Listful Living. And I even have a LinkedIn Learning Course outlining my methods

But recently I tried an experiment to reboot my list-making approach. And the results really surprised me — and changed the way I’m going to make my daily list. I chatted about this on PIX11 News in New York City — you can check out the full conversation here!

The idea for a shift came when I listened to my friend Polly Campbell’s podcast.  Polly is a writer and author — her podcast, Simply Write, touches on all things writing, from craft techniques to the publishing industry (I was a guest on an episode about doing media as an author!).

Polly has also been a guest on my live-streaming show Inside Scoop to share about how to maintain a positive mindset.

The episode that sparked this idea was about Polly’s plan to try something new to organize her tasks. Like me, Polly is big into productivity. She gets a lot done (she has published four books!) and has great ideas about mindfulness and reducing stress. 

On her podcast, Polly talked about how she needed to shake it up a little bit because she found that she wasn’t making time for the things that she wanted to do, like writing her novel.

I’m also working on a novel, and I always find that that comes last on the list. It ends up being the thing that I roll over till the next day. 

Polly’s big idea is to create buckets for your to-dos. You make a ‘create’ bucket, a ‘develop’ bucket, and a ‘deadline’ bucket.

Create Bucket: In the create bucket are your creative tasks — let’s say the novel. You pick something that you can work on that day: a chapter, an edit of one section, or even a scene. 

Develop Bucket: The develop part could be something you’re in the process of growing. It could be developing your business by coming up with ideas for new ways to get clients. Or perhaps you could be doing some marketing or putting things on social media or supporting other people in your field. Something where you’re developing your business or developing your craft. Maybe you’re taking a class or something like that.

Deadline Bucket: The last bucket is the deadline bucket. These are the things that have to get done today — the actual deadline-oriented things. Maybe you have to write an article or you have to review an article or you have to put your newsletter out. 

Reconnect with your purpose. The thing that I love about this method is that it reconnects you with why these things are on your to-do list. So often we have a to-do list that is very long, mine, even though it’s daily, can sometimes be very long. It just becomes sort of mindless why we’re doing these tasks. But this way, you are connected to the purpose of why you’re putting these things on your list.

And I have to tell you, I did it for one day so far and I got every single thing done on the list. I felt great at the end of the day. I did not feel overwhelmed. I was very purposeful about what I put on there. And I had fourteen things on that list! I had one thing in create, I had six things in develop, and the rest were in deadline.

This experiment reminded me that it’s worth remembering that as you change, you need to revisit what could work better.

I’m feeling that pull right now as far as how I design my day. I have been doing my schedule for myself as an entrepreneur the same way for the past six years since I started my business, and it works great. I love not having meetings on Mondays and not having meetings on Fridays. I love that.

But what I’m finding is I don’t have time for some of the creative projects that I want because of the way that I’m structuring my time otherwise. So I am going to be looking at my time and how I spend it and seeing if maybe there are other ways that I can move things around.

Figuring out your productivity style is one of the best ways to do this — and it’s always a good time to see what your productivity style is or if it might have changed. This is something I walk you through in my book Listful Living.

I wanted to share this story because it was really powerful to take a fresh look at the to-do list. If you’ve been wanting to get things done in a way that you’re more connected to, give this a try.  


BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? CLICK HERE to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.


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