At some point in time, whether it is in writing or in our heads, we have all created a to-do list. Pick up the dry cleaning, do grocery shopping, and pay phone bill. In essence, these lists are so simple, it may seem like completing one is just a part of your routine. However, the power behind these lists is really about setting a goal or an intention and then doing it. So what exactly is it about these simple lists that gives us the superpowers we need to be more productive?
Make a commitment
It is easy to say you are going to do something, but there is an even greater psychological commitment when you physically write down your to-do list. I personally write my weekly and daily to-do lists down in my 2019 diary. When I take the time to write my list, it is like my own personal pledge to stop at nothing to cross this off the list. I make a commitment and seeing that item stare back at me, undone, is a constant reminder of what I need to get done. All that power from simply writing my to-do list down, it really does wonders for my productivity.
Organization not chaos
A to-do list is simply one way of managing the chaos in our lives. Life is busy, from work to children, all the way to catching up with friends, there never seems to be enough time. But making a to-do list helps to organize that chaos into a manageable system. Not only does it help me focus, it mentally prepares me as well. All of sudden, what I thought would be a chaotic week or day is somehow much more manageable.
The control is all yours
We have all met those people who will tell you that a to-do list just doesn’t work for them, that they love the urgency of chaos and it keeps them motivated. Perhaps they haven’t explored all options. It’s about trial and error and finally choosing a method that is most effective and efficient for your lifestyle. I personally prefer detailed notes as it provides a calming effect, but for others, it is perhaps a short hand language that helps to keep those less memorable tasks at the forefront. Whatever the system, the to-do list is yours to customize in a way that makes you feel more in control of your life and the things you need to do.
Break it down
A to-do list is a fantastic way to take a larger goal and break it down into more manageable sized tasks. For example, if renovating the kitchen was a goal of yours, it may seem like an insurmountable task. Breaking it down into smaller steps, like determining your budget and gathering inspiration, not only gives you a starting point, it allows you to prioritize your time effectively.
The act of writing out everything you already know you need to do may seem like wasted time. However, the productive power of a good old-fashioned to-do list is unparalleled. To-do lists provide clarity and a sense of purpose, not to mention an opportunity to celebrate once you check off an item!