to-do list

How to make a productive to-do list

Have you been trying to figure out how to make a productive to-do list? Not a busy list but an actual to-do list?

Where does the list come from?

The famous-slash-infamous to-do list that we all face. From our bosses, from our family members, from our other responsibilities, and even from ourselves. Sometimes it can seem endless. For every item you cross off, you discover four more items that you have to add. But here are seven to-do list hacks that could change the way you tackle your chores! Plus sign up below and get the library password to access three free printable to-do lists.

How to make that to-do list more productive for you

7.The art of forgiveness
We need to learn to forgive ourselves for not getting everything done immediately and simultaneously. I am a repeat offender of this myself — thinking that if I just can get more done, I can rest. That’s not how it works. Because guess what? There will always be more. I don’t say that to scare you, I say it to be realistic. So learn to forgive yourself for not getting it all done right now.

6.Not making a list at all
This seems to be the pendulum swing I see most often. That when the list gets too overwhelming, to abandon the idea altogether. My primary reason for loving my to-do lists is that it means I don’t have to remember everything. If I jot it down on the list, it no longer occupies brain space to remember that I have to do it. Think of your grocery list — let’s say on Wednesday you realize you need potatoes but you do your grocery shopping on Saturdays. Would you rather write down potatoes on your grocery list and move about your day, or would you rather spend the four days trying to remember to get potatoes?

5.Delegation is your friend
You don’t have to get it all done by yourself! If your eight-year-old can peel carrots and your ten-year-old can wash and tear up the lettuce, then those are two steps of making dinner that you don’t have to do. The rest of your list can work similarly. Maybe your spouse can swing by a postal drop box on their way to the gas station; maybe a co-worker can

4.Be as specific as you can
Abby offers some terrific to-do list hacks including being specific about your tasks. If something on my list is a larger item to tackle, I like to break it down to smaller tasks. If I don’t finish the entire chore in one day, I might accomplish one or two pieces so that I have made progress. Admittedly, this can make the list look longer, but you can knock out the smaller sub-tasks quicker and get them crossed off.

3.Work smarter, not harder.
In our recent crazy Dallas snow-mageddon, our poor doggie flipped out every time the power would come back on. It was the beeping of the microwave. We tried to reassure her that everything was okay, but then the power would come back on the next time, and the beeping would scare her again. We finally unplugged the microwave. The moral of this story — sometimes the best solution actually is the easiest solution.

2.Busier does not mean more productive
Productive and busy are not interchangeable. This feeds right off of number 3 above. Running around dust all of the flat surfaces in the house, vacuum all of the rugs and carpets, and scrub all of the bathrooms simultaneously means that nothing really gets done and you end up exhausted without actually having accomplished anything. But deciding that you are going to complete one of those chores a day means that you will spend no more than 30 minutes a day and by the end of it, you will have a cleaner house.

1.The NUMBER ONE hack — find a system and stick with it
Moving the list from an electronic format to a physical planner to a pile of sticky notes and miscellaneous notepads means something will get lost in the translation. And not everyone’s system will look the same. Test out ones that appeal to you and stick with the one that will get the job done for you.

Need a more
productive to-do list?

Sign up below for access to the library which includes these terrific printable to-do lists!

(Plus get your productivity hacks too!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a to-do list make you more productive?

It certainly can! It helps keep you focused on the things that need to be done so that you can complete them more effectively and more efficiently. And isn’t that the goal?

How do I organize my to-do list?

You can list the tasks and goals by deadline, by priority, by completion time. Any method that works for you. Typically my strategy is a combination of factors. What little things can I knock out quickly? What tasks can I batch together? And don’t forget to check out these great tips including the Eisenhower Matrix.

What is a master to-do list?

In a nutshell, it’s where you keep the everything. And you can make it as detailed or as general as you need.

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