“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
What Mark Twain was referring to in the quote above is that by completing the toughest part of your day first thing you are done with it the rest of the day. It is over and you can move on.
Personally, I really do not like the stress of having a certain project or task that needs to be completed hanging around in my head. It just makes me think about it and think about it. That takes up a lot of space, a lot of time, and a lot of energy! That is where a To-Do list comes in. My to-do list is my brain on paper! If something is on my list, I don’t think about it. I just do it.
Did you know that if you have something on your mind that has been bothering you, when you write it down your brain will stop rehashing it? By writing down what is in your head, your brain lets go and moves on to other things. How many times have you lain away at night with tomorrow’s agenda on your mind replaying it, and trying to remember everything? Many people call this insomnia. It is not insomnia; it is simply a brain trying to remember. The cure is to write the agenda down. I guarantee you will fall asleep. In addition, you will remember everything much more easily the next day.
How to Write a To-Do List
One key point to remember when creating a to-do list is to keep it simple. Your to-do list should be limited to what needs to be done the current day or the next day. Making your list too long to manage will make you feel cluttered or distracted and you will feel like you don’t really know where to start. So, keep your list limited to no more than 12 things. Once you reach the bottom of your list, begin creating the next list. If you make a to-do list each day and actually put in the effort to complete each task you will find that, your lists get shorter and shorter on their own. When we neglect to take care of business, our lists grow to unmanageable proportions. OK so you know now to keep it reasonable, keep it simple.
STEP 1: Block out a few minutes (I use 15 minutes) each morning and each evening to create and revise your to-do list. This is important. Uninterrupted time will help you think more clearly and you will not forget what you want to get done half way through writing your list.
STEP 2: Think about your day. What are your goals? Write down the first step to achieving your goal. The hardest part of doing anything is getting started. By making the first step to your goal a priority on your to-do list you will get started!
STEP 3: Write down all the rest of the things that you need to do for the day. Remember though keep it simple. If cleaning your bathroom is one of your priorities great! Write down clean the bathroom, not scrub the toilet, wash the sink, clean the mirror.
(I am assuming you have been cleaning your bathroom for many years and you will know what needs cleaning. If however you are living in chaos and have clutter from floor to ceiling, may I suggest www.flylady.net. A free program that will help you get things decluttered, and organized very easily! I am not advertising for the site, I just know firsthand how helpful it is. It is literally life changing.)
STEP 4: Now, you have your list of 12 (it is ok to have less, and Ok to have more as long as you are not overwhelmed). Look your list over and prioritize. What is the most important thing to do? Put the letter A by it. What is the next important? Put the letter B, and so on. In the case of having two things with the same priority, use A1 and A2, B1 B2 etc.
Always assign the toughest jobs a higher priority than the easy, lesser important jobs. As Mr. Twain was referring to, getting the tough stuff out of the way first means you have less to worry about through the day.
Once your list is complete, you are ready to move on with your day. You will be amazed at how much less stressed you are and how much MORE you get accomplished!
Remember to cross of each item on your list as you get it done. It is a great feeling at the end of the day to see your list all crossed off. If you have anything left over, move it to the next day’s list. Determine its priority. If you have had it on your list for three consecutive days and you have not completed the task, decide if you will either
- Complete the task or-
- Delegate the task to someone else or-
- Remove the task completely until there is a better time to reintroduce it to your list.
This is your list. You have complete autonomy on what to put on the list, on what to delegate, on what to cross off and what to eliminate! This is yours! You are the boss! You can do this!
Have fun with it and get some much-needed rest. Make tomorrow’s list tonight and see if you don’t sleep extra well tonight! Good luck and let me know how it works for you!
If you have any suggestions on how to make the most of to-do lists or make them better please or if you just want to give us your experience with using to-do lists please leave a commentJ.
Thank you for reading! Make it a Great Day!