goal setting
Personal growth

5 Ways to Complete Your To-Do List Every Day

October 2, 2018

“The only thing more important than your to-do list is your to-be list. The only thing more important than your to-be list is to be.” –  Alan Cohen

Oh, how I missed clicking ”Add New (post)” in my WordPress account. I haven’t written anything since August, so I can already tell this post is going to have some personal experiences included. In the past month and a half, I have moved 4 times, had a lot of new experiences, got out of my comfort zone more than I had anticipated, and still, there was one thing that I always kept active. My to-do list. It was always there. Always extending, because to-do lists are the most alive when we don’t have time for anything.

So how to control them, instead of being controlled by them? How to make use out of them instead of running away from them?
Here are 5 steps to help you complete your to-do list every day. 5 things that helped me keep the balance between to-do lists and everything else when 24 hours in a day didn’t seem enough.

to do list

1. When is the best time to write your to-do list?

“Rename your “To-Do” list to your “Opportunities” list. Each day is a treasure chest filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list.” – Steve Maraboli

I believe the best time to write your to-do list is at night. When you’re done with your day and you know what you need to do tomorrow, write it down. Think of writing your to-do list the night before as preparing for the day ahead. That way you won’t toss and turn in bed at night thinking how hectic tomorrow might be because you have so many things to do. And you might even get excited for tomorrow if there is something you enjoy on your to-do list. If there isn’t anything enjoyable, add something. Enjoying your life shouldn’t feel like once-a-month-luxury, it should be non-negotiable.

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2. How many things to include to your to-do list?

“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.“ – Patti Digh

1 to 3, in my opinion. This goes especially if you think you have more than 3 things to do. To keep yourself from burning out and feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to be focused. There are things you can do the next week, there are things you don’t even have to do. And there are things you really need to do tomorrow. One thing on your to-do list is often enough.

For example, for today I was thinking about signing up to a gym, signing up to a new casting agency, writing a blog post, making a concept for a welcome email for the new subscribers, etc. And even though I could do all those things, I want to focus only on writing a blog post since it takes a good chunk of time and it’s been on my mind since August. If I do all the other things – great. But they are not on my to-do list because I didn’t want to have an endless list of things that are not my priorities for today. Those are just the things I’ll get to when I’m done with the one that is my main priority (if I feel like it).
I don’t want to be too hard on myself, just like I wouldn’t give anyone else the advice to force themselves to do 100 things every day.

So yes, 3 main things you want to do will give you time to achieve your goals and to take care of yourself at the end of the day.

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to do list

3.  Is the task important/urgent?

”Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.” – Bill Gates


I’ve heard about this a while ago and immediately started implementing it to my to-do list. You can write your normal to-do list and for each task ask yourself how important and urgent the task is. You’ll realize that you’ve been pushing yourself to do so many things when in reality, they are not even as important as you made them be. We’re always stressing about the things we ”should” do.

If you don’t live alone, maybe you shouldn’t be the only one doing the cleaning or cooking. If you work with other people, maybe you shouldn’t do all the work. Do what you want, for yourself. Do what is important to you and what makes you happy.
Everything else is for someone else’s to-do list, not yours. Focus on your own growth and your own desires. It’s your life.

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4. Time to take action.

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi

When the morning comes, start taking action. You can start with the most difficult task if you want to get it out of the way so it’s not in the back of your mind the whole time. You can start with the easiest one to build momentum from there. Or with the one you’ve procrastinated with the most. We are all different when it comes to that, and sometimes you just need to check in with yourself and see how you feel like. You can set a timer and do a task for an hour and then take a break, and continue.

The point is to start doing the things you need to do and not to burn out in the process. Take breaks, have some delicious beverage to sip on, light a scented candle to make a nice atmosphere if you’re working from your desk. Or find some youtube channels for inspiration if it’s needed.
Always remember that motivation comes with taking action. Taking action is what will keep you motivated to go further every day. Build momentum every day and go after the life you want. Nothing will change if you don’t make a decision to do what you need to in order to create a life you’re excited about.

You might like:
3 ways to get out of a slump and feel motivated again
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Check out my ”100 Steps Closer” eBook filled with motivational quotes, affirmations, journal prompts and action steps to get you 100 steps closer to the life you want.

to do list

5. Be flexible.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” ―Joseph Campbell

A few days ago I woke up with the intense urge to create something. I spent a few hours in the morning editing a video that I filmed a month ago. You never know if the next day you’ll wake up with the new ideas. Maybe you’ll have a dream that will give you some new perspective. Or you will wake up and get an email offering you a sponsorship collaboration with a brand you love. You never know. And there is beauty in uncertainty.

Maybe you get a message from a friend who lives on the other side of the world saying that they’re coming to your city and you’ll need to make some changes to your schedule. Maybe you’ll realize that you didn’t have a day off in a while and you’ll decide to make an appointment for a massage tomorrow.
You absolutely never know what might happen.

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So the last advice I’ll give you is to not put too much pressure on your to-do list. Sure, there are some things you need to get done to be one step closer to your ideal life. There are some deadlines. But do your days need to be packed full by things you won’t even care about if they are not done exactly tomorrow?
Be flexible about the ways you’re going to achieve your goals. Take it easy on yourself. Repeat an affirmation. Set an intention every morning that you will try to do what you need to. But that you will also forgive yourself if you don’t do it all.

to do list

Have a great day,

I.

Only registered users can comment.

    1. Hi Deb,

      the same thing was happening to me before. A great solution is just minimizing your to-do list to your priorities so that you don’t overwhelm yourself with endless tasks 🙂

  1. I REALLY like the idea of starting with what seems the most difficult (or challenging) first…. That’s how I judge my success for the day and that’s what motivates me to want to do more. Like you mentioned also, I limit my weekly list to 5 major things (including my weekly video post and blog post). That way I don’t get overwhelmed. If I can accomplish these 5 major things, then sometimes I add in a few other things (knowing that if all of them don’t get done, it’s okay, because they were bonuses). Thanks for sharing on a topic super important to us bloggers who always seem to need to do ALL the things…😀

  2. Nicely written!! I love the idea of doing your to-do list the night before. It sort of gets you off on the right foot being productive in the morning. I also have been known to write down everything I might ever need to do in a day and then I get overwhelmed. Silly right??!! Thanks for giving me some things to think about.

  3. I’m glad I came across this blog today as I am on day #3 of my 3-day weekend of decluttering and unloading all the unnecessary stuff in my closets. Having all this crap really makes me stressed and I have this motto that if I haven’t used it or worn it in 2 years, it needs to go. With all the second-hand stores and selling sites/walls on Facebook etc., if I should find myself needing a similar item again, I can always find it relatively cheap and easy without having to become a hoarder. Living life simply and uncluttered is the way to go…as I sit here stuffing unneeded items into the little yellow Vietnam Veterans of America bag for pickup in a few days! Wonderful blog!

  4. Thank you for this wonderful article, it is so helpful!
    I realised I put too many items on my to do list which has been stressful and exhausting. I won’t be doing that anymore!

    1. I’m glad to hear that 🙂 Yes, implementing a minimalistic approach to our to-do lists is an amazing thing when it comes to focusing on your goals and things you actually need to do 🙂

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