How to write efficient to-do lists

There are two types of to-do lists: the ones that work and make you feel content and those that do not work and make you feel frustrated.

I feel content and complete when I tick off all points on my to-do lists. These are amazing feelings at the end of the day. I feel proud of myself.

To-do lists are not

Well, first of all, to-do lists are not brain dumps. Your to-do list is not a freaking list of every single thing you should/have to do during your day/week/month. I bet this list would be 8 miles long. Probably, it will make you feel overwhelmed only by looking at it. Am I right? Honestly, I would faint if I saw all the things I should do during the day.  

There is nothing wrong with free writing about the things you’re going to do. However, then you should select tasks that will form your efficient to-do list. Make sure that you didn’t include your habits. It makes your to-do list longer. Besides, you may have a lot of habits.

However, when I started new habits, I included them in my to-do list. Then, for a while, I excluded them. For example, in 2021, I wanted to prepare for my IPA exam. So my goal was to do some exercises every day. The best application to track my habits is Loop Habit Tracker (I’ve got it on Android, it’s not an ad).

Certainly, I’ve seen to-do lists, which include the responsibilities of colleagues/family members. Seems like you’re writing to-do lists for your colleagues/family members. Am I wrong? Let me know in the comments below.

If I wrote a list of responsibilities of my colleagues/family members, I would
collapse just looking at it.

Have a look at your to-do list. If you see any goals there, cross them out. When you have a goal, you should write a plan to achieve it.

To-do lists should be:

With deadlines

Then, there should be deadlines. I like writing to-do lists every day. Thus I can clearly see what I intend to do.

With different categories

Make sure that your to-do list should have different categories. It should not be one long list. Personally, for me, my best choice is “personal,” “work,” “to write,” and “to buy.” These 4 categories are present in my everyday life. Therefore, I can precisely see the areas of my “doings.” Also, I write my tasks in the order I want to do them. It makes my life easier.

You can see that some of my to-do lists (in 2021) have got some habits. Let me explain that. I used to include my morning skincare routine to get some instant gratification. This is a great feeling when I start my day and already have something completed. Besides, I included listening to audiobooks. I wanted it to be a habit. But I gave this idea up eventually as I memorize information better when I read. In addition, I love highlighting, using different colors, and then returning to my notes. This is my favorite way of receiving information.

Easy to edit

To-do lists should be easy to edit and easy to find as well. I love using Canva for composing my to-do lists. Sometimes I use my desktop version, and sometimes I do it on my phone. So I can change something quickly and trouble-free. I choose the Stories format as I often share my to-do lists on Instagram.

Realistic and doable

Double-check if your list is realistic and doable. Have a look if you have enough time and other resources to complete your tasks. For example, you know your everyday routine/tasks and how much time you spend on them. So, it will help you to understand which tasks you can do today or any other day. I highly recommend you track your time to get a clearer vision of how much time you spend on what. It really helps with planning more efficiently. I’ve been tracking my time for 3 years and benefit significantly from it.

You may benefit from my videos about time management on my YouTube channel.

Do you have anything to add to my blog post? Let us know in the comments below.

Please contact me if you’d like to have any of my templates.

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