To-do lists–they’re not the enemy

 

By Nicole Lopez, Group Account Supervisor

I can’t recall the number of times my own parents dreaded a to-do list handed to them. Whether it was a honey-do list, a list of classroom supplies to buy, or requirements from their jobs, a to-do list would hang over their heads like a dark cloud and constantly remind them of what they hadn’t already done yet.

This “dread” gene must have skipped me because there is nothing I love more than a well-organized to-do list. Colors, sections, caps, bolding—I love it all and I find it super helpful in giving me a snapshot of what’s to come.

How important is my to-do list? Being honest with you, this list really defines my day—it gives me my priorities and things to not forget to finish, whether for work or for personal goals. My day always goes smoothly when I’ve set up this list in advance, and usually always feels more chaotic when I don’t have time to put one together. As awful as it can feel to list out ALL the things you have left to do in a day, it can be really empowering too.

You do have to hack your own to-do list to make it fun, so you’re more likely to use it.

Some tricks that I like to use?

GO ANALOG

A digital to-do list can be filed away and disregarded like that last email you received from Macy’s. Writing the list down makes it real and tangible—you’re more likely to do it if you can see it physically represented.

COLORS

I can carry up to 10 different pens with me at one time to color-coordinate tasks. I realize that may be excessive for some people (or most people), but it works for me and makes it more visually interesting. It also helps split out types of tasks, so I get a quick visual snapshot of what I might have to do in a day.

SECTIONS

I separate my list into a “general” section—things I should do every day and should cross off my list regularly—and “specific” section—tasks that only belong to individual projects/goals. Helps with prioritization for sure!

SYMBOLS

I learned this from the bullet journaling craze that’s taken over Instagram: having a symbol system can help you identify at a quick glance what’s needed immediately and what category your task belongs in. It can also be used to show what’s being carried over from the day before and what has a hard stop deadline. Pretty useful.

PERSONALIZATION

If this suits you, you can go wild with all of the categories above and get super creative—washi tape, markers, watercolors, etc. I find that for me it can take a bit too long to make this type of list, so I just stick to pens, but if you like it, I love it.

All to say—you can create your to-do list however you want, as long as it’s a way that works for you and will help you toward checking off everything you need “to do.”

How will you attack your to-do list?