To-Do Lists: The Fine Art of Getting Stuff Done

Over winter break, I noticed that I was starting to fall into a rut of serious un-productiveness (that’s a word…right?). I don’t know if it was exhaustion from the first semester or just plain laziness, but I simply could not get motivated to accomplish anything. With the second (read: hardest) semester coming up, I decided it was time to make a change. In the hopes of becoming more productive, I started writing out a daily to-do list. And you know what? I saw the amount of tasks I was completing in a given day seriously increase, and the amount of stress I had start to decrease. That said, keep reading down below to find out some of my go-to tips and tricks for creating (and completing!) the perfect to-do list:


Invest in a fun notepad Having some cute stationary to write your to-dos on will help keep you motivated to write out your tasks each and every day. Not only that, but it will make all those things that need doing ten times more attractive ;). You can shop my notepad from above here, or pick out your own from any number of labels. I personally love anything and everything from Rifle Paper Co., Sugar Paper LA, and Thimblepress.

Write it ALL down When I make my lists, I’m always sure to write down every single thing I want to block out time for that day. This includes things like working out, drinking 50 ounces of water, and even baking a new recipe. This is especially helpful on the weekends, when I have a tendency to throw myself into academic work and then realize the whole day has flown by and I didn’t get to a single thing I actually wanted to do. By writing down tasks that are more for my mental health than productivity’s sake (starting a new book, trying a new recipe), I set myself up for a more balanced, less stressful day!

Plan ahead This might sound crazy, but I always have my to-do lists started at least two days in advance. For example, today is Tuesday, and Thursday’s to-dos are already taking shape. Why? It helps me to keep track of more random tasks that I might otherwise forget (example: I need to stop by the library to say thank-you to the librarian for his help with some research), but it also acts as a radar for what the rest of my week will look like. Going back to me previous reference, I can already tell from Thursday’s ready-made list that that night will be pretty busy. So, with that in mind, I will make sure to get an superfluous homework/blog writing done by Wednesday. See what I mean? Try it, and you’ll thank me later.

Keep it visible This is the last and probably most important of tip: make sure your to-do list is somewhere you see (read: can’t avoid) it. I keep mine on my desk all day, but review it before I go to school so that it is fresh in my head throughout the day. If it helps you to carry it around or store a picture on you’re phone, all the better. Just keep you eye on it, and I guarantee you it’ll all get done.

There you have it, four of my personal tricks for creating a to-do list I can stick to. What about you? Are you a list-maker, as well?


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