Does anyone else have the habit of trying to track the things they need to get done every day in their head? Sadly, I do. No matter how many apps I try downloading or small scraps of paper I find, I can’t seem to write down my to do list every day.
This scatter brain process worked okay when the kids were little. We were less active and the business wasn’t as busy. I only had to keep track of some preschool events, play dates and the current design project I was working on.
Nowadays, though, our lives are busy. If I don’t write down what I have to do every day, then nothing gets done. It turns out I’m a paper and pencil kind of girl.
Although I’ve tried a variety of to do list apps on my phone, I always come back to finding random scraps of paper on my desk. I usually jot down one item on that piece of paper and another item on another piece of paper. Throughout the day, these little pieces of paper get scattered all around my work space. I’m lucky, I find them all by the end of the day. Sadly, though, I’ve already forgotten the tasks on them and have worked on completed unrelated objectives.
Doesn’t sound very efficient does it? I’ll admit. It’s not. But, not everyone has a perfect system.
To avoid trying to locate little scraps of paper any more, I am attempting to use this new free printable to do list. It’s my Must Do List.
Currently, I’m using it on a weekly basis, but it’s also perfect for monthly or daily use. The design even includes the days of the week in the bottom right corner. If you use this printable to do list for every day use, circle the day of the week it corresponds to. Then, you can be extra organized.
Since I’m using it weekly, I’ve printed off a few copies. I put them on a clipboard by my desk so I’m not scrambling to find them every day.
At the beginning of the week, I write down the tasks that I must do. These are the non-negotiables, the things that if I finish will make me feel accomplished at the end of the week.
I try to keep this list to about ten to twelve items. I don’t want to go overboard. Remember, your to do list isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. You don’t want to have a bunch of tasks on there that you need to do and then rush through them. A couple well completed tasks that bring you closer to your goals equals a good week.
Once I’ve completed an item on the list, I check the box under “It’s Done!”. This is a moment of celebration. You did it and should feel proud.
There’s something about the motion of using a pencil to cross an item out or check it off a list. The physical holding of a writing instrument and pressing the lead tip onto the paper gives me a adrenaline high. This is a feeling that I don’t get from just pressing a button on my phone or making an invisible slash mark with my finger.
If you are attached to your electronic to do list, that’s wonderful, keep using it. But maybe consider giving a paper and pencil one a try just once. You may find that the excitement of physically crossing an item off your list provides even more motivation for accomplishing your goals.
A few notes about keeping a successful to do list….
I try not to add to the list throughout the week. If an important task comes up on Thursday (unless it is time sensitive for a client), I leave it for the following week. My to do list isn’t a fluid document. Once it’s written, I try to let it be for that week. It’s hard to feel accomplished when the list keeps getting longer.
Create a to do list that you can actually get done. Writing a list of dreams and things that you can’t get done in a week or a day is kind of pointless. The purpose of a to do list is to help you feel more accomplished. It’s important to find balance in the list you create. If your list is full of only possibilities, then that feeling will never happen.
Keep your to do list somewhere you can see it. As I’ve learned from my scraps of paper method, if you don’t know what to do next, you probably won’t do it. I’ve wasted many precious minutes trying to figure out my next task. When you have limited work time, these minutes add up.
Are you ready to try a new paper and pencil to do list? Download and print our free printable to do list. Figure out the best place to put your to do list – attach it to a bulletin board, the refrigerator or a clipboard by your desk.
Write down the most important tasks you hope to accomplish that day or week. Then, get to work adding more productivity to your day. I’m telling you. The to do list is where it’s at.
You can download your free printable to do list here. Now, bring on more productive days and weeks ahead.
This is very insightful! Something I’ve been doing is keeping a running list of to do’s that include things for every area of my life. That way all the important parts of my life are getting the attention they deserve.
That’s a great idea! Keeping a separate list for each would be helpful. I have a business and family list. But, you’ve got me thinking about a self care list now. Things I need to do for myself each week like working out. I’ll have to work on that. Thanks for the idea!
These were wonderful tips! I’m a BIG to-do list fan…there’s just something about planning your week out and crossing off tasks as you accomplish them! Thanks for sharing!
It’s the crossing out that’s my favorite part. I completed a task the other day only to discover that I hadn’t written it on my to do list. I was so disappointed, I quickly wrote it down and crossed it out so I knew it was done. Thanks for stopping by!
I’m totally in love with this design and the simplicity of this. And that little “It’s Done!” box that I get to check off is the best!
Thanks so much for stopping by. My favorite part is the “It’s Done!” box too. Checking it off keeps me motivated and happy.
Having things written down makes my life SOO much easier. Thanks for sharing this info!
I don’t know what I’d do without my To Do List front and center. It guides my productivity every day. I’m glad you’ve found success too.
I agree, there is something to physically writing your to-do list down and checking off what’s done! A good reminder not to add to it throughout the week, as well.
Adding to it throughout the week is always the part that gets me anxious. Suddenly, my list is longer than when I started and I feel like I haven’t gotten anything done. Since putting a stop to continuous add-ons, my list gets completed now each week. Thanks for stopping by.