From a young girl in middle school to a woman who has created a business, I have always and still rely on my to-do list to keep me on track and hold me accountable. Of course, there are a multitude of apps and planners that exists and are designed to assist you in creating a to-do list but even after trying a few, I still reverted back to creating my own to-do list. Why? Because it has never failed me and why fix what isn't broken? I also believe that you should do what works best for you and your lifestyle and at this moment my to-do list work just fine. However, it's possible that this could change in the future and if that happens I'm confident that I will find a way to incorporate a to-do list.
Personally, I like to keep things as simple as possible - the less complicated the better! So, for me that means a single, piece of paper is just as effective as an app. And if you're concerned that I'm wasting paper, don't worry because most of the paper that I use is scrap paper which I recycle afterwards. I will even write on the back of envelope if there is space. Therefore, I always have a piece of paper nearby and a Sharpie to write down my tasks. I'm sure you have heard of someone being a paper and pen type of person, well I am a paper and Sharpie type of girl. It's just something about writing down your tasks and goals with a permanent marker which will translate to those goals coming to fruition and tasks getting completed!
I have even created a weekly to-do list using a Sharpie, yellow post-its and an old piece of cardboard to layout my tasks for the week. After completing the tasks for each day, I simply recycled the post-it and then used another one for the next week. I placed the weekly to-do list in space that I would easily be able to view it so that it served as a reminder. Even if I don't use a sheet of paper, I always find creative and fun ways to create my to-do list.
My to-do list holds me accountable. If a task or goal hasn't been crossed or checked off of the list or there isn't any indication that completion has occurred then that's my cue to get back on track and remain focused. For example, if I know that I have a blog post to complete, then I can refer to my to-do list which prompts me to finish and complete the blog post. As I mentioned before, my to-do list is kept in area which it's visible to serve as a constant reminder which will keep me focused. The other great thing about my to-do list is that I don't feel anxious or overwhelmed whenever a task isn't completed because I've taken the necessary steps to strategically plan out my to-do list. The key to an effective to-do list is to never fill it up to the point where you become even more stressed. Your to-do list is meant to guide you and ensure you that you're on the right track. If I notice that there is task that hasn't been completed on my list then I simply modify my to-do list as needed. That's why it's so important to me that I strategically map out my tasks so that I leave room for adjustments. When I do make adjustments it doesn't throw me off and continues to allow me to stay on course.
"Your to-do list is meant to guide you and ensure you that you're on the right track!"
Frees Up Mental Space
I believe in setting your intentions. I believe that words have power. I believe in the action of picking up something to write with so that you can document what your brain is transmitting. As a result, I view this as a deliberate act to ensure that your goals, intentions and tasks are fulfilled. Being a entrepreneur and managing a business that fulfills my purpose is rewarding. But if you can imagine, there is always something that must be done or I'm always coming up with an exciting idea that I want to execute. When I take all of my ideas and tasks and place them on to a piece of paper, I am freeing up mental space. If I didn't have an outlet for my thoughts to flow then that would definitely pose a problem and create mental blockage. I always need my mindset to be clear and creating a to-do list assists with that and prevents me from feeling stagnant.
To help you better understand, just imagine that you're carrying around a bag full of items and the more you tote the bag around without emptying the contents inside, it gradually begins to weigh you down. But once you take your time and start to remove some of the items from the bag you notice that the load has lessened and the bag feels lighter. You don't feel so weighed down anymore and you can move around more freely. This is exactly how emptying your thoughts, ideas and tasks on to paper feels because your mind is now at ease and is able to relax.
An artist tends to use a canvas and a paintbrush or a sketchbook and a pencil to create imagery that they want to bring to life. In theory, that is what my to-do list does for me. The paper is my canvas and the Sharpie is my brush and the tasks and goals that I set out to accomplish is my artwork - a masterpiece. And similar to an artist, I want to display my creation, the to-do list, so that I am able to visualize how I will excel and stay on course. Incorporating a to-do list into my personal life and business allows me to free up mental space so that more creative, sustainable and profitable ideas that I will execute can flow. The progression of technology is great but I like to take it back to the basics and still write things down. As the great Erykah Badu stated, "write it down on real paper with a real pencil and watch sh*t get real."
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