If you have never used a “to do” list before you are missing out on a golden opportunity to get yourself accomplishing more in any given day. I’m sure there are some of you who may scoff at the idea of making a list of things to do each day. Maybe some of you are even thinking these exact words “I know exactly what needs to be done today, why write it all down?”
That may be true, and the point of this article is not to discount your ability to remember things that you need to do. It’s to show you that by using a “to do” list, you may accomplish even more than you thought possible, and even start reaching goals you never seem to get to with a hectic daily schedule.
A Daily To-Do List Can Really Help Keep You Focused Achieving Your Goals
Personally, I’ve really enjoyed getting into the habit of writing a to do list almost everyday of the work week. I find that having an agenda not only gives me specific things to strive for and accomplish by the day’s end, but it also helps me consider other ideas I did not think of before.
What I do is simply write down quick thoughts, usually abbreviated on a small spiral notepad, and keep it handy wherever I go. I originally started doing this with a pack of post its, but found that by keeping these lists in a spiral notebook, I can turn back to past days just in case I added notes or other ideas that may have come up.
When is the best time to plan?
I have found the best time for me to plan my daily agenda list/goals is at night right before going to sleep. Generally I start thinking about the next day’s goals while I am brushing my teeth, washing my face, and getting ready for bed. I prefer making my list at this time since the day’s events are fresh in mind, and I know exactly what I need to focus on for the following day. I know what I did or did not accomplish, and have a basic idea of the next task(s) that need to be done.
This may be an ideal time for you to plan out the following day while the thoughts are fresh in your mind.
Again this is just one way to plan out the daily agenda. I did attempt to do my planning in the morning while getting ready for work and eating breakfast, but I found that specific things I wanted to focus on were more readily on the tip of my tongue before bed more so than in the morning. Most folks are still a bit groggy and fighting the “still-asleep” factor, but who knows, maybe the early morning will work for you. It’s all dependent on the type of person you are and when you have a few spare quiet minutes to reflect on tasks and goals you want to achieve.
Personally for me, it’s a great feeling to know when I wake in the morning I have this list already prepared. I know right away what is on the agenda for the day and the goals I will try my best to accomplish.
My best advice would be to try making a to do list one time and follow through with it as best as possible to see the benefit it provides. You may be really surprised at how much you are able to accomplish by getting in the habit of making a short but sweet to-do list. I know this ritual has really helped me focus on sequential tasks on a daily basis, helping me be more productive… at least more focused than I would be without an agenda in hand.