how to make productive to do lists!

2019, lifestyle, organisation

Hello!

Thought my confidence in my ability to do literally anything right now is rock bottom, one thing I know I can do for sure is make a list and get stuff done. In the two years since I’ve had my bullet journal I’ve got a lot better at figuring out what works best for me.

How I make my to do lists has changed a lot – in the summer of 2016 I remember making lists that were 9 or 10 things long and then getting really demotivated because I wasn’t getting anything done. In the following January I started my first bullet journal and from there I started experimenting with writing a long weekly to do list so I could see what I needed to achieve over the whole week and then I could pick out tasks that I needed to do on each day.

I stuck with that structure for a while, developing it to split my weekly tasks into categories like Uni, Society, Personal, Long-Term etc just to help me focus more. But when I finished uni I felt I didn’t need the focus as much and I didn’t have the same need for tasks that were completed each week so I stopped using this around June 2018.

And between summer 2018 and the end of the year I really refined how I make my to do lists and it’s working really well for me to have a balanced productive day – not giving myself too much to do, making sure I finish all my computer jobs during the day and doing as much as I can to make sure I get everything done.

Shock horror, she’s talking about her bullet journal again. This is my nearly finished weekly spread – on the left page I write the content I want to make for the week, my monthly goals and tick boxes (because is there anything more satisfying than ticking a tick box?) for my daily tasks and this is working really well right now.

Then on the right I have my daily to do’s – each day has 4 lines for me to plan things to do and the highlighted numbers is my word goal for my writing challenge this month. I keep my Sunday box longer because I can catch up on things  I’ve missed during the week and make notes for the following week.

I think if I had a better memory and such I wouldn’t need to rewrite each list every day but I really like writing my to do’s for each day on a post it note and stick it to the front of my bullet journal so I can just tick it off without having to have it open all the time.

The way I make each list is I write the day of the week at the top, because let’s be real – I forget what day it is at least 7 times a day, then I draw 5 boxes and 3 dashes.

(not the greatest picture but gives you the idea of what my lists look like!)

The 5 boxes are for me to write the must-to do’s and those are my kind of bare minimum tasks for the day – it’ll include things like any editing or writing I’ve got to do, if I’ve got a dance class or work or anything like that, it all goes on the list with any other tasks I want to do for the day.

Then I use the dashes for tasks that aren’t too important or wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t do – things like my daily writing challenge that I’m doing at the moment, any tasks I could do if I finish everything else on my list and any little jobs that really need doing but it wasn’t worth a tick box.

And this system works really well for me. That’s not to say I get everything done on my list every single day – I have bad days that I just can’t bring myself to do the things I need to do and I’m frustrated and tired. But this is the best system I’ve found so far – some people get 10 things done every day, some people get three things done a day, some people go to the gym at 6am, work 9-5, volunteer at a food bank after work and have a solid mental health so comparing your productivity to mine or anyone you see online is utterly pointless. It’s all about things like substituting phrases like ‘I was so productive today’ to ‘I got everything on my to do list done today!’ – productivity is so highly valued in society and on social media right now but every person is different and everyone works differently.

Conclusion – to do lists are great and all and I’m really happy with how I make mine now but we shouldn’t compare productivity because everyone is different.

I hope this has been even a little bit helpful! I do love talking about organisation and things like this so if there’s anything you’d like to hear my two cents on, let me know!!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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