Emily and I are obsessed with list. We find ourselves including “make list” on our to-do lists. Call us crazy, but there is nothing like the feeling of checking tasks off of a piece of paper. Not only does it feel good to check things off, but it is also irrationally soothing to write down all our thoughts, ideas, and responsibilities on paper.
Many of you can probably relate to the saying “going a mile a minute.” This saying doesn’t even come close to describing how quickly our brains can become overwhelmed by mounting mental “to dos.” So, take a deep breath, grab a pen, and let’s master the art of lists together!
Step 1 – Choose your ‘paper’
Some prefer making lists on their phones, others prefer their computers, but my canvas of choice is always putting pen to paper. It might be because I get to use every and any color pen I can find, or it might be because I am most creative when getting back to basics with a notebook, the back of a receipt or any piece of paper I can find in my purse.
Once you find your “paper,” find your pen, keyboard, marker, crayon…your utensil. Do you like colors? Should it be erasable? Customize your lists!
Step 2 – Don’t overwhelm your list
The mistake I always make is writing down every single thing I should or could be doing. These lists always end up being ones I write, just to write, but never actually complete. Sit down and decide what you want this list to be themed. Some common themes for me are tasks for myself, tasks for my job, things to create, things to clean, and people to contact.
Whatever the theme, make sure you stick to it. Don’t overwhelm yourself.
Step 3 – Check off, at least, three tasks within the first hour
Many write lists and then forget or put them aside. The best way to avoid this is to pick at least three things on the list and get them done straight off the bat. There is nothing more encouraging than being productive; and nothing more discouraging than thinking you can’t do it.
So prove to yourself that you can, and check a few things off. Pick three easy tasks, or one big one. Whatever it is, allow the creativity of writing a list to take over and encourage your efficiency.
Every now and then, writing everything down that comes to mind acts like spring cleaning for the mind. The last time I wrote one of these lists, I wrote it to allow myself to pick my priorities, and de-stress.
Keep this list on your desk, in your workspace, or on your wall. But do not try to tackle this list in one go. You’ll just come back and yell at me for overwhelming you.