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Let’s talk about To-Do list’s.

A funny thing happens to me most nights. Once my head hits the pillow and my eyes shut, about ten million tasks that I didn’t do, need to do, must do, forgot to do, should do, could do instead, even an occasional WHY did I do that?! ……begin to swarm in my head.

In the morning as my feet hit the ground, I feel the buzzing revving up as, “Do NOT forget to do

[insert critical task] otherwise tomorrow [insert dreadful event] will occur.” pops into my head.

Can anyone relate?

As an avid reader on anything related to productivity, I have discovered I am not alone and there is a simple solution to this. It is creating a daily to-do list.

Productivity experts are all over the board when it comes to whether you should do your list at the end of your work day (I’m a mom so there’s no such thing for me), at night before you go to bed (a good 30 minutes of awesome reality tv is my nightly remedy for ignoring the impending doom of “have-to’s”), or first thing in the morning (Ding-Ding! We have a winner!).

So my personal preference is jotting down my to-do list first thing in the morning. Here’s why:

  • Focus on my overall goals. The morning is when my perspective and outlook is the most fresh. No one has complained to me yet or asked for anything that will sway me from my overall goals. There is something about a new day that reinvigorates and inspires me to focus on doing what is most important to me in my life.
  • Fewer distractions.The emails, tweets, text and Facebook messages have not yet begun. There are going to be distractions and last minute things to add during my day but I have a much more clear vision before those distractions begin to filter in. Also, when I am having one of those days where I have so much to do but no idea where to start I refer back to my list to get me on track.
  • Prioritize. It’s funny what was #3 on my Tuesday list is now no longer a priority at all. I refer back to my previous lists but rewrite a fresh one every day. Not to mention as a mom and wife it’s funny how my priorities will change between 9 pm and 6 am with a child who has a fever during the night or husband who could be called into work.
  • Outta my head. I do this weird thing to myself.  I won’t write down a grocery list because when I create a menu my brain organizes the items I need to purchase by the aisles in my grocery store. Honestly, this works great and I rarely forget anything UNLESS I bring a kid or husband with me. Then no one is allowed to talk or ask me a question as I go through the store with my brain on auto-pilot directing my cart where  to gather my items. So instead of growling at my poor family because I’m in some kind of whacky robot mode, I force myself to WRITE down my list. I keep it in my back pocket and glance at it from time to time to keep me on track. Getting things out of my head and down on paper truly does alleviate stress. I promise!
  • Don’t overcomplicate.  I take a few minutes to jot down my list. No need for details unless the task requires a specific time it needs to be done, items I need to take along or people to notify. Otherwise, keep it simple.
  • Control. Everyone likes a little control. This is my moment to direct the precious minutes ticking away in my day to be purposeful, meaningful and productive.

I love to hear your ideas on to-do lists!

Also, visit our Etsy store for super fun downloads to help keep you on task!

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Happy list making!

-Janel