Creating a to-do list is anything but a waste of time. When we actually take a moment to capture our thoughts onto paper, or into our phones, it actually creates clarity and starts to give us direction for what to do. Plus,
Since we are seemingly in a constant state of hustle and bustle, we need to be taking the time to do this. Outside of giving back mental capacity and creating clarity, it also gives us the ability to say no to the useless, or to be able to delegate or push out what isn’t needed.
Now some of you reading this are in complete agreement with why this is important, but you have already tried this and failed miserably. You have failed because of one key thing, your list was never top of mind and it just created more confusion. To be successful with your list there are two general rules:
- Keep it simple
- Keep it present.
You generally don’t want to have a thousand things on your list because that in and of itself creates confusion and anxiety. A list that’s too big does the exact opposite of what it is intended to do.
As for keeping it present, you need to create the list in a way that works best for you. I do pen and paper. I have the list on a 3 by 5 index card that I keep in my left pocket at all times. Every time my hand goes into my pocket. I feel it and it triggers the to do list in my mind. If you are using a phone, try creating an alarm that goes off at certain times of the day to remind you to review it, or have the list as the lock screen on your phone. However you decide to keep it present, this step is crucial because a forgotten to do list is a wasted list.
Remember, keep it simple and keep it present.
I don’t know about you, but I am incredibly forgetful. I can think of something I need to do or think of a “brilliant” idea and in the matter of five minutes I get completely distracted by the fact that someone brought in the most scrumptious and delectable donuts from Tip Top Donuts.
Since I am so forgetful and I have a million ideas running around my head, I take a 3 by 5 index card and write down those to-do’s and ideas with a little checkbox next to them. Yes yes I know, how archaic it is that I am using pen and paper when I have an iPhone in my pocket.
You don’t have to use pen and paper, but the reason I personally do is because it does something extra for me. Physically writing it down, instead of typing it out, adds one more thing to help me remember it. However you capture down these to-do’s and thoughts, whether with a chisel and little stone tablet , pen and paper or a phone, make sure it is something that doesn’t add stress and that fits who you are.
Why should you start capturing to-do’s and ideas in the throughout the day? Let me list a few:
- It declutters the mind and allows your brain to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted.
- Helps you keep track of what is most important and allows you to see some quick wins you had throughout the day.
- Allows you to be intentional, set a plan, and accomplish more throughout the day.
This isn’t a new idea. In fact, it is actually multiple ideas that I grabbed from a couple different folks and meshed into something that works for me. Please, take the time to try this out over this next week. If you like it great, if you don’t… well at least you tried something new. I just know the positive impacts it has had for me as I have accomplished more and freed up my mind to focus on what truly matters.