productive to-do list


I’m a little bit of a to-do list nerd. No joke, I actually get pretty excited when I sit down to write my to-do list. But there are definitely days where my to-do list is just NOT doing me any favorites and I can seriously just feel my productivity slipping away. Having a really good to-do list makes ALL the difference. Here are some tips for writing a to-do list that’s ACTUALLY productive!


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Write It Ahead of Time


I’ve learned from plenty of personal experience that the time to write my to-do list is NOT when I sit down at my desk first thing in the morning. Doing this usually leads me to feel like I’m behind already, and doesn’t typically lead to a super productive day. I find that it’s way more productive for me to write my to-do list at the end of each day. It allows me to evaluate what I was able to get done that day and what needs to be pushed until tomorrow, and it also allows me to dive right in when I get to work in the morning rather than scrambling to remember what I need to get done that day.


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Keep It Short


It might seem like the most productive to-do list is the one with the most tasks to accomplish in any given day, but I usually find that isn’t the case. First of all, it can be super stressful to look down at a long to-do list and feel like there’s no way you can finish everything on it before the end of the day. I also feel like it leaves me lost when I look at my list because I’m simply not sure where to start or what to tackle first.

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Prioritize Your List


Here’s what happens when I don’t prioritize my to-do list: Every time I look at the list, I immediately gravitate toward the quickest, easiest task on the list for the sake of getting something crossed off. I make my way through the mindless tasks, and by the afternoon, when my energy is already starting to wane, I’m left with only the biggest, most time-consuming tasks on the list.

What I prefer to do instead is go back and forth between the biggest and smallest tasks on the list. I might start my morning with a few really simple to-do’s, and then jump into my biggest task for the day. Then, once the afternoon hits, I’ve finished my biggest to-do and can re-energize with some easier tasks again.


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Categorize Your List


I used to carry a planner with me where I kept a list of everything I wanted to get done for the day for work, for my blog, and at home. The problem with this is that while I was sitting at my desk and should have been diving into my work, I was instead going over my to-do list for when I got home. And when I should have been blogging, I was instead lamenting about a task I didn’t get to at work. Now I keep them all separate and it really allows me to stay in the zone with whatever I’m working on.

I also usually break down my to-do lists by type of task. So if I have a bunch of calls to make at work, I’ll group those together on my to-do list and knock them all out at once. Or if I have a bunch of blog posts coming up that need graphics created, I’ll do all of those in one sitting.


Separate Your Master List From Your Daily List


At any given time I have a huge running to-do list of all the projects and tasks I want to do for the blog. Some of these are small tasks that can be done in an hour or less, others are major projects that are more long-term plans. In the past, I would use this as my to-do list for the blog. The problem was that anytime I would check out the list, I would get so dang overwhelmed that more than likely, I would end up not getting anything done.

What I’ve learned to do instead is keep my master list in a separate place, and only focus on my daily to-do list. Then I’ll go through the master list and pull tasks to add to my daily lists. This way when I’m looking at my blog to-do list, I’m looking at maybe 3-5 tasks that I need to get done rather than 25.


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Be Specific


I find that when it comes to productivity, it’s best to be as specific as possible with my to-list. This isn’t the place to list projects, this is the place to list tasks. That means breaking your projects down into manageable, bite-sized pieces. Keeping the tasks simple makes the list look a lot less overwhelming and will probably make you more likely to start getting things crossed off.


Leave Room For Flexibility


I work in a relatively flexible work environment. On one hand, it’s super nice because I can mostly construct my own work day and am not committed to a rigid schedule, or stuck working on the same thing day in and day out. However, it can also make it difficult to get through a to-do list because random things tend to pop up pretty often that throw off my schedule. The problem here is that I hate leaving things unfinished, meaning some days I’m staying later at the office than planned to finish what I wanted to get done that day, even if it’s not necessary.

This is one reason it’s good to start with a short to-do list! I also have to just be realistic with myself and accept that some days I’m not going to get everything done, which is okay.


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Not all to-do lists are created equal! I definitely know from experience that just having a to-do list isn’t enough to ensure that you actually get everything done. You have to craft your to-do list the RIGHT way, and these tips will make sure you’re well on your way to creating a super productive to-do list!


Make sure to head over to the Etsy shop to check out all the AMAZING notepads and printables that will seriously help you boost your productivity.

And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE Ultimate Productivity Toolkit that has all the tools you need to plan a productive day, week, and month!


How to Write a Productive To-Do List - Struggling to make it through that to-do list everyday? Here’s how to write a to-do list that’s actually productive! - Productivity | Organization

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