One of the biggest things that's helped me lately to stay motivated in my business and life is making to do lists. I have made to do lists my whole life but I always made them on scraps of paper and never actually finished them. As time has passed I have picked up on a few things that have helped me accomplish my whole list even if it seemed never ending. Today I want to share with you some tips and tricks that I think will work for you too!
Pictured above is my small pile of to do lists that were scattered around my room. My to do lists usually consist of shop, blog, personal, and work stuff. Even though I find these multiple lists still constantly laying around my room I try to make sure to clean them up and make one big list in a notebook. Keeping one list is something I still struggle with but I do find that random lists laying around remind me of my major list which can often be forgotten about.
Anyhow here are things that have worked for me with my to do list...
- Find a small notebook that will easily lay open to keep your long to do list and always keep a pen attached for unexpected list additions. I use a small spiral sketchbook because a pen easily slides into the spiral and my pages are blank allowing my list to be visual when I need it to be.
- Determine what your list covers and divide your list into sections. For example My Personal Stuff Section includes stuff like exercise, baby, my dog, groceries/meals, and a clean living area or stuff like hanging with family and planning a date. Then I usually have a work section which includes work outside of blogging and my online shop, like camps or after school work. My other sections are shop and blog... notice I don't use a cover all for these like a business section that's because it helps me focus and see what aspects of my business need more work than others.
- Keep goals on a separate page in your notebook and clearly define them as goals. Use goals to determine steps which are what will be included on your to do list. I often find goals mingled in my to do list... the problem is that they are impossible to cross off because they take several steps to finish them. Keeping that in mind helps me from feeling overwhelmed. I use my goals to help me think of my to do list if or when it is starting to look empty.
- Use a large to do list to compile a daily to do list. Try and focus on keeping a daily list 5-10 items long, some from each section. If I just try to make a small list from my brain every day without a long list I never accomplish making the actual small list and in turn never get anything useful done. This list is always on a scrap of paper that I can lay in front of me and scratch off of throughout the day.
- Make your daily to do list late the night before or early the next day. Practice making it a routine with your cup of joe or while your getting ready for bed. Making your lists a priority will help you keep a schedule and stay focused. I found that randomly making lists any time of day did not mean as much as when I made the special time to create them. Plus having a list ready for the day makes sure I have the time to get things done.
- Stick to your to do list and create small rewards for yourself throughout the day when you mark 2-3 items off. If I start working on something and I realize it isn't on my to do list I stop and prioritize. If it needs to be done that day I add it to my daily list if it can wait I jot it down on my large to do list and move on. If I am feeling creative and know that this is a temporary ahhh moment then I give myself a time limit like an hour to work on it before going back to the list. My small rewards have included browsing pinterest for 30 mins, having a snack or resting for a bit.
- Strive to complete your daily list or as much as possible. Finishing the list should be your #1 daily goal but stuff happens be happy with how much you do accomplish and start with a fresh new list tomorrow.
- Never revisit an old daily list when that day is over. Crumble it up and throw it away! Several reasons for this. It's detracting, can be disappointing, annoying and overwhelming. After all everyday is a new day so your list should be too!
- Create a Today I... list when your daily list fails. When your list is completely shot, meaning something else like life got in the way of accomplishing anything make an Today I... list when the day is over. Write out what you did in a list format even if you laid in bed all day and enjoyed the tv or hung out with a friend. Find the positive things that came from it. Your brain got some much needed rest or you got to laugh. This helps me the most because it keeps me from hating to do lists or that lazy feeling. It makes me appreciate life which is the ultimate reason we live. Today I is the now and what is better than saying you enjoyed life now!
- Make your list enjoyable. Set up your environment so that you can accomplish things and enjoy it. Whether it's turning on music or moving the work to your comfy bed. Even having your favorite show on isn't a bad idea. Make it fun! After all you are your own boss! Only person who can make it miserable is yourself!
Did you find this useful? Any tips you can include that help you make and keep your to do lists?
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