How a To-Do List Can Keep Your Life on Track

Lists are an essential for me. I’m talking ESSENTIAL. Need to do an errands run? Make a list. Have a lot of tasks to complete at work? Make a list. Homework assignments? Make a list. Grocery shopping? Make a list. {ok u get it}

Lists can also help you stay on track with your monthly, yearly, 5-year, and 10-year goals! Lemme explain:

~ Time Management

Lists help SO much with time management - writing down everything you need to do helps arrange priorities so you get the important stuff done when it needs to be done!

~ Motivation

Writing down and actually seeing what you need to accomplish each day/week/month can help keep you on track to complete these tasks.

~ Meeting Deadlines

This one might be obvious but goes along with the time management and prioritizing – prioritizing what needs to be done, managing time effectively to get these things done, all while staying motivated, are key factors that will keep you working toward your monthly, yearly {etc.} goals.

SO, all these things are great right!? But there is also a trick when it comes to making a to-do list that actually works.

Have you ever written things down that you would like to get done, only to overlook these tasks and continually put them off? Same. And that’s probably because the list violated one of these rules:

How to Make a To-Do List That Works

1. The Big Picture

Start with your ultimate end goal – these are usually the currently unimaginable, 1+ year away type goals. Starting at the end and breaking down EXACTLY what needs to happen {& when} to get there will create smaller, more achievable goals that eventually lead up to that big goal you’re working towards.

For example, say “In one year I want X” – break this down into a 12-month plan, then for each goal you created for each month, break that down to weekly goals, etc.

2. Be Realistic

I’ve definitely talked about setting goals for yourself that you realistically believe you can do in X amount of time. When we start setting goals that are unrealistic or impossible to achieve, it’s only natural to feel unmotivated or even quit when these goals aren’t reached in the time we gave ourselves – so don’t set yourself up for failure in that way! Be honest with what you believe you can commit to & push yourself to get there.

3. Be Flexible

The one constant I know in this life is that change is inevitable (LOL spoken like a true PhD student – when u know u know). But in all seriousness, being flexible and adapting to whatever is thrown your way is how you are going to overcome hurdles and get from point A to point B. So don’t be discouraged if plans change! Just readjust and keep going.

4. Know Yourself

Know what method works for you – what are you more likely to stick to? For me, writing down notes in my phone is GREAT for smaller things (e.g. groceries, wish lists, little reminders). But for my goals, I need to visualize the process out in front of me! This includes a monthly calendar followed up with weekly calendars and also a space for notes – like I said; I like to visualize the whollllle process!

5. Keep Yourself Accountable

Last but not least, you need to hold yourself accountable! {Hint: rewards work nicely for this}



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