Making and working from a to do list, daily, is something I highly recommend. It can keep you focused on your priorities and goals that you set for yourself, and over time it will allow you to actually begin to accomplish exactly the things you want to accomplish.
But to do lists only work if they're realistic. Otherwise they can be overwhelming and cause us to get discouraged and be counterproductive.
Make Your To Do List The Night BeforeEach evening I suggest getting in the habit of making your to do list for the next day. It helps you get what you need to accomplish tomorrow out of your brain so you can just relax and rest for a while before you begin again the next day.
Making it the night before also allows you to think and plan, as opposed to reacting instinctively to the day's events and then spinning your wheels by not actually getting many useful things done.
Break Projects Into More Manageable TasksI used the example above of a project, "declutter your house." That is not something that I could get done in one day, how about you?
You see that written on your to do list and you ignore it, write it over and over on each day's new list, and/or just give up on that project because it seems unattainable.
However, you break it down into more manageable parts and tasks, like go through and declutter one drawer of your dresser today, and that doesn't seem too bad. Hmm, I could do that and then I get to check it off my list! Sweet!
If you're like me, I LOVE checking things off my list and so I actually enjoy breaking projects down because it eventually means more check marks. ;)
(And of course, for the decluttering project, I've actually already broken the project down into 15 minute missions for you, so just reference your calendar each day for your task!)
Make Your List Shorter If PossibleThat being said, just because you should break your projects down into more manageable chunks doesn't mean that you should write 25, by themselves, managable tasks on your to do list for that day.
Add all of those tasks together and they aren't so realistic and managable anymore. You won't have time to do them all and that just leads to a feeling of failure.
I'm really bad about making my lists too long, so believe me, I often need to remind myself to practice what I preach, but I've found that when I do make a shorter list I am more likely to actually accomplish the things I have written down then if I write a longer list.
I've provided a free printable to do list template below, and it has 10 lines. That is the MAXIMUM number of things I think you should have on your daily list. Honestly, it would be better if you had five or less.
Then, all day, you'll be able to track your progress and also re-focus yourself if you get off track.
*****what wonderful ideas .. a list with only 10 things I think that I can manage this one :) I will post a weeks worth of lists to make sure that I am sticking to only 10 things!!!
**** I can't seem to print the lists that are attached but what I did is get a 4x6 piece of paper and write 1 - 10 and at the end of each night before tim goes to bed we brainstorm what needs to happen the next day and write our list ... my problem is that I didn't finish the items from the list the day before do I transfer them to the new list ?????