How to: Write the Perfect To-Do List

I woke up this morning at the crack of dawn reciting and repeating a phrase that I seemingly made up in my dream. It goes like this: "No matter what you do, you've got to-do."

It. Is. Genius. So clever that it will probably be the next inspirational, commonly-used, life-changing quote. Honestly, I don't know how I come up with this gold.

Let me explain why this phrase is so valuable and the lesson that we can learn from it. I am going to delve into the importance of writing to-do lists and some tips to keep yours from just becoming another piece of clutter.

To-do lists are incredibly important if you want to get shiz (pardon my French slang) done. They help break down goals, keep thoughts in order and encourage productivity. And they obviously serve as a great reminder for our ever-forgetful brains. 'What was it that I wanted to do this afternoon...?' Here are some things to keep in mind when you are compiling a to-do list:

1) WRITE IT OUT. It's easy to convince yourself that you'll remember what it was that you wanted to do. But let's be real. You may forget a few things and then you risk that they fall through the cracks. It may take some trial and error, but figure out the best system for yourself whether it be a physical list with pen and paper (my personal method), a list on your phone or using the help of an app or program (Wunderlist and Todoist, to name a couple).

2) Make sure the goals are small and realistic. You don't want your to-do list tasks to be daunting and feel unattainable so keep your goals short and practical. Instead of telling yourself to "Learn Portugese," break the goal down into smaller steps. "Buy a 'Learn Portugese' book," "Read Chapter One of my 'Learn Portugese' book," "Go on a date with a Portugese person and practice what I learned in Chapter One," etc. You're more likely to accomplish goals if they are less time-consuming and complicated.

3) Make boxes for check marks. It's the smaller rewards in life that are sometimes the best. It can feel awesome to physically check off a to-do list goal. Create a reward system for yourself and don't be afraid to bring it beyond a check mark if that will work better for you. Gold stars, anyone?

4) Add deadlines. Without deadlines and time-constraints, your to-do list risks becoming just another work of prose. Sure, it's nice to know what you want to accomplish, but the real aim is to actually get it done! Throw in some deadlines but again, make sure they are realistic. You can be generous so as not to discourage yourself. You can even consider creating daily to-do lists with super-small tasks.

Once you get a handle on your to-do list you'll definitely become more efficient and productive. You're welcome.

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