Balance, Wellness

How Making a To-Do List Changed My Life

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How Making a To-Do Changed My Life |Peaceful Dumpling

Making a to-do list can change your life!

I used to wish for more daytime after the sun had set because I felt as though I hadn’t accomplished as many goals as I wanted to throughout my day. I desperately desired structure, yet I certainly didn’t miss my years of extremely packed, high school/college life. So I created an answer for myself: falling between an unpredictable lifestyle and a structured, responsible one by making myself a to-do list every morning. My daily lists have tasks ranging from starting my day with morning stretches to ending it with reading a few chapters of a new book; or calling my mother to going on a hike or folding laundry. Small, yet important goals that I’ve listed down for myself daily, knowing I can accomplish them at any time before the sun goes down.

I have a very “adventurous” personality, and my days can sometimes be extremely unplanned, bouncing between spontaneous decisions to take a weekend mini-road trip or spend hours at the mall. I also grew up surrounded by my very wild and fun yet unorganized family. It was while living back home with them a few years ago when I finally realized that our carefree, unplanned family attitude was certainly loving, yet I, personally, desperately needed structure. I started creating my to-do lists, numbering small daily goals in their order of importance, so I could manage my time better and easier. As long as I make myself a small to-do-list and try my best to follow it,  I am reminding myself to accomplish my goals while also enjoying my day doing other random and fun things! Guilt free!

This is what making a to-do list does for me. I…

1. Feel accomplished! Accomplishing at least some of the tasks on my to-do list always makes me feel productive. I might be having a “lazy Sunday” or “slow moving Monday” attitude, but I know crossing a chore/goal off my list always uplifts my attitude no matter the day of the week. In an online article in Forbes, the author shares his best tips to create a productive lifestyle–creating a list. As many of us have experienced, “one of the most satisfying aspects of creating a to-do list is crossing off things when they are done.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment and gives you a visualization of progress.” Even accomplishing small tasks (and crossing them off your list!) can give you the momentum to move on to bigger, less appealing tasks.

2. Manage Time More Efficiently! Although I seldom accomplish ALL of my daily to-do list tasks,  I sometimes set myself a time goal to complete it by.  I commit to completing at least half of the list (more or less) before noon (or sometimes a later hour). After I complete my time goal, I can allow myself to do something unplanned and spontaneous with the rest my day clear! Guilt free! It always seems like there’s more time in the day when tasks aren’t hanging over your head

3. Inspire organization! I have never met anyone who said that they felt their best while living an unorganized, hectic lifestyle. Trust me, some degree of organization is very soothing and helps guide a stress-free life. Following my to-do list,  I set goals for myself and once I accomplish them (no matter how simple/small they may be), I inspire my friends and family to achieve there’s as well. Once your loved ones see how easy organized planning is thanks to you, following and achieving their “chores” should seem extremely possible.

How to make to-do lists a part of your life:

Making a to-do list is easy! Mine are jotted down on old receipts or stray papers I find throughout my morning–though I have also had post-it stacks specifically for my lists. If you’re feeling reluctant about starting the process, invest is a cute pad of paper to motivate you to create your daily lists.

How Making a To-Do List Changed My Life

Cute sticky notes by Ban.do to help you get the job done 😉

If creating one in your cell phone that you’ll keep with you all day is easiest for you, then I recommend that as well. As I mentioned above, it can be helpful to also number the items in order of priority. Alternatively, you can break the list in half between AM and PM duties.

If creating one in your cell phone that you’ll keep with you all day is easiest for you, then I recommend that as well. As I mentioned above, it can be helpful to also number the items in order of priority. Alternatively, you can break the list in half between AM and PM duties. Once you develop the habit of making a to-do list every day, you’ll find that you’ll develop your own particular methods for organizing your time.

The following are a productivity apps you can use to stay on track with the day’s goals:

Evernote. This awesome app has a great free version in which you create notes (there is even a “check box” feature!). The notes will sync with any device on which you’ve downloaded the app. Bonus: You can share notes with other Evernote users.

Wunderlist. Create to-do lists and shopping lists with this handy app. You can even tell the app to remind you of tasks you need to accomplish by a certain time.

Google Keep. Leave it to Google to come up with another app to make life just a little cooler (and organized!). You can start using it immediately if you already have a google account. Google Keep can save and archive notes.

How Making a To-Do List Changed My Life

Google Keep.

I certainly feel like my days have become a great balancing act between my freedom, responsibilities and goals since starting my day with my to-do lists.

Are you a fan of to-do lists? What are your strategies for maximizing productivity?

Related: 5 Steps to Declutter Your Workspace for Increased Productivity

5 Easy Habits for Better Home Organization

5 Ways to Build a Healthy Routine

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Photo: William Iven via Unsplash, Ban.do, Google

Elissa Lee Martinez

Elissa Lee Martinez

Contributor at Peaceful Dumpling
Elissa Lee Martinez is known publicly as Lee! She is a Mexican American, twenty-four year old who believes happiness is the best ingredient for success. She lives in North Hollywood, CA and enjoys presenting poetry and song lyrics weekly at open mic events and taking her mischievous black cat Machete with her on all of her adventures throughout LA! She loves the outdoors, learning new languages and trying the "City of Angels" healthiest, yummiest, and most notorious Mexican American food restaurants and cafes. Follow Elissa Lee on Instagram @lee_meetsworld.
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