How to stay on top of your to-do lists

Sunday, October 21, 2018




At any given time of the day (sometimes in the middle of the night) my head is filled with lists:

  • to-do lists
  • people I need to call list
  • errands I need to run list
  • pictures I need to take for social media posts
  • blog posts ideas list
  • book reviews I need to write (and let's not even mention the TBR list)

Having lists is actually the first step of realistically approaching what needs to be done.  The problem with my lists?  They were all over the place! In my laptop, in my tablet, my phone, pieces of paper I collect with ideas of yet another list...I realized it was getting out of control and adding to my stress level of feeling like I was falling into the rabbit hole of things undone.

I couldn't understand how I can be so organized at work while at the same time seem unable to keep personal tasks under control.  How did I get to this emotional "I'm failing" roller-coaster?  

It's like watching Penny Dreadful + Devil Wears Prada + Mean Girls all at the same TIME while listening to Michael Buble feeling sorry for myself !!!!  (hmmm I actually enjoy all those things, but maybe not together)

Anyway, something needed to be done, so I declared war against all my lists and decided to find a place, one single spot where I can find everything and not worry about what it was that I wrote on the back of last night's restaurant receipt.

If you google "how to tackle your to-do lists" the results will be overwhelming, so here are my best tips on how to create a to-do list that you'll actually want to stay on top of:

  1. First of all, keep everything in the same place - Whatever type of to-do list you decide to use should be available to you at all times: there's no point in choosing to use a physical notebook if you keep forgetting it at home, and the same goes for using an app that's only accessible via phone.  
  2. Be realistic on what you can do in 24 hrs - avoid falling into the trap of over-scheduling yourself. 
  3. Categorize it in a way that makes sense to you - I'm using Evernote (more on that later) and I now have "notebooks", one personal and one for my blog, which are then divided into sections, aka "notes" that I named as hashtags, #errands, #familyfun #placestotravel, #writingprompts #readingchallenge #blogpostideas.  
  4. Focus on one thing at a time (guilty as charged) - It's a rewarding experience when you cross one of the items of your list as done/completed/finished.  As a blogger I am well aware of how easy it is to get distracted with social media, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I found this app called Moment - tagline "put down your phone and get back to life"-  where you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over! Wait, there's an app for that?
  5. To find the Best To-Do List Apps for IOS and Android head over to this article from Digital Trends, which will give you a summary of each app that's available out there.  Like I said before, I chose to use Evernote, mainly because the free version is sufficient for everything that I need, plus it gives me access to my notes/lists from all of my many devices by keeping everything synchronized across platforms.  Evernote even has free templates!


I hope you enjoyed reading this post and is already thinking of ways to organize your lists.  Please drop me a note to let me know what you thought of it !

21 comments:

  1. Great advice! I have a hard time with #4. I'm always trying to multi-task even though I know it's not the best thing for me.

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  2. That one thing at a time focus is key for me. The older I get the less successful I am at multitasking

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    1. Certain tasks require 100% focus so the multitasking only triggers a headache :-(

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  3. Great post. I am the list making queen. I make lists of lists I need to make 😂

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  4. Awesome advice, now i just have to remember it

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  5. I am the queen of the weekly planner on my desk and the more long term planner on my computer outlook which is backed up. I am the queen of making lists and notes. :)

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  6. This is great advice! I love lists - they always keep me organised but as you said it's good not to overload them, sometimes I add far too many things on there and then it gets to the end of the day and I still haven't ticked everything off and it annoys me but it's my own fault as I've put too much on there in the first place!

    Chloe xx
    http://www.chloechats.com

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  7. Great post. I'm also a multi list person and need to get more organised. That comment about a list on the back of the a shopping receipt is me to a tee.

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  8. This is definitely excellent advice. I have a severe problem because I am a major multitasker. I don’t think I would ever work well with a to do list. I do however keep notes everywhere and maybe that’s how I keep things mostly together.

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  9. Great review! I agree with the only focus on one thing at a time. I only read one book at a time, or else I'll get them mixed up!

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  10. Great advice, though I rarely make to do lists.

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  11. Great tips and advice I rarely keep to my to do list as well and your tips is most definitely very helpful to me. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

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  12. Oh! I love this post! It's fun and helpful. I can relate to all the list being all over the place. When I was a student, I used to to bullet journaling and even tried Evernote (w/c by the way that time didn't worked for me) but I promise myself to apply these wonderful tips. Consider this post bookmarked!��

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  13. I'm always making to-do lists and have the same problem of having them being all over the place! When I go back to them, I sometimes have no idea what was supposed to be for which list. This is really great advice and I can't wait to put it in to practice, especially now I'm taking on NaNoWriMo this month! Great post!

    Kelly | http://paperbackadventures.com

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