to do list

How to make a to do list that really works

Who doesn’t have experience with this? A long list of things to do but you can’t make them seem reality. And then the list grows longer and longer. So how can you make a to do list that really works?

Sit down and brainstorm

Instead of going round and round in your head of all the things that you need to do, you go sit down and write them down. Because when you allocate yourself some time to really write down what you want to do and achieve, you will have more time to actually do those things, because your head is clear to do them. So make an appointment with yourself and write down every, I repeat EVERY, single thing that you want or need to do, no matter how big or small on a piece of paper or a computer.

Have a weekly wrap

  • Add any new things that you need to do. Again this can be anything.
  • Go through your list and see which items have a deadline or should have a deadline. Plan them and any appointments you have into your calendar straight away on a realistic time that suits you and where you are sure you will reach that deadline.
  • Have a look at how much time you have left in your calendar and what else you can plan in when. By allocating time for something and actually planning it in, you are more likely to do it, instead of just like scrolling on your Instagram account.
  • If you like, divide your list up in priorities. This can be short term goals and long term goals.
  • Review every to do to see whether it is still valid for you to do.

Now every single week you are going to look again at this list. Make sure you plan it in your calendar to do so. For me Sundays are great so that I can start my week fresh, committed, excited and prepared. Now go through your list every week as followed:

Have a daily reflection

You already have planned in your week in your weekly wrap, so you should be good to go and get things done and be productive. Of course life happens, and you might not be able to get to do the things that you wanted to do. A meeting lasted longer than you planned, a friend or a colleague asked you for a favor. And that is A okay. This is what you do on your daily reflection:

  • Is your to do list still valid for today (or tomorow if you do it in the eve)
  • If yes, great what are you waiting for, get to work!
  • If no, what does need to be changed? Do you need to postpone another task maybe and arrange the calendar?
  • Take the time to reflect on your day (or the day before). What went well? Where is there space to improve? What are the reasons you might not have been as productive as you wanted to be? What can you do differently? What is one action step you can implement to just move you one step closer to what you want tomorrow?

Tips to make your to do list really work

  • Give yourself time to get better at this. Rome wasn’t build in 1 day, you surely didn’t get your diploma in 1 day either. So getting good at planning and to do lists won’t get you there in 1 day either.
  • Try to journal and reflect on the things that go well and where you want to improve on.
  • Try to understand what priorities are most important to you and do them first thing.
  • Dive into when your energy levels are sky rocking and plan your most difficult tasks when you have the most energy. Are you a morning person or more an evening one?
  • You put a lot of effort in planning in your tasks and creating your calendar for the week: so just do it! Good luck :).

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