“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.” –
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.
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.” –
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.
You might like:
Productive and mindful night routine
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.
3. Is the task important/urgent?
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.
4. Time to take action.
“The future depends on what you do today.” –
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.
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.
5. Be flexible.
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.
You might like:
VIDEO – Erin May Henry: Why you haven’t achieved your goals
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.
Have a great day,