There’s a reason humans have been writing to-do lists since the years of quill pens and parchment paper: they work! Here’s how to tackle your goals head-on (and organise your life in the process) using nothing but a good old-fashioned to-do list.
1. Write down your daily duties – but keep them to a manageable number. As a general rule, jot down just four or five. There’s nothing more overwhelming than a list that just won’t quit, and you shouldn’t be setting out to do more than you can handle. A simple hack to keep your list short and sweet? Write it on a sticky note.
2. Make your list the night before. Don’t psych yourself out for the day ahead by stressing over today’s to-do list with your morning coffee. Instead, put it together the night before. The following day, you’ll wake up knowing exactly what needs to be done instead of scrambling around to figure it out.
3. Prioritise your items by importance. Your to-do list should revolve around your priorities. Think of the one thing that will make you feel the most accomplished (What’s that? Coming to boot camp, you say??) Now put that at the very top of your list. Ticking off that one critical item will automatically set you on a path of success for the rest of the day.
4. Write each task as a doable action. Avoid using vague wording when writing your items. Think of each list item as an action. For example, instead of jotting down go to bank, write collect new card at FNB instead. It’s a simple psychological hack for creating clarity in your mind and making goals seem more achievable.
5. Remember: your unread emails are not automatically part of your list. We get a lot of emails in a day, and it’s super easy to get distracted by the constant stream of incoming messages. Have a couple of moments set aside in the day for checking email and crafting tomorrow’s list, because you definitely don’t have to get to every task the second you receive it.
6. Don’t let your to-do list run your life. When you wrote bake brownies for end-of-year function, you had no way of knowing the Pick n Pay down the road would be out of cocoa and that your best friend still hadn’t returned the baking tray she borrowed months ago. Certain things are going to take longer than you anticipated for reasons out of your control, and that’s totally fine! Don’t freak out, because tomorrow is another day.