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Why To-Do Lists Should Be Your Best Friend

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Emily Kong
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Published on October 7, 2014

There are usually two types of people in the world: those you love to-do lists and those who hate them. Regardless of what your feelings are, everyone can agree that to-do lists save lives and your sanity, or the little sanity you have left.

With everything going on in your life, it’s hard to remember every little task you need to accomplish. Whether it’s something simple like calling your mom back or to submit an internship application by its deadline, you’re bound to forget and it will slip your mind. Don’t be the person sputtering out apologies every time you miss a call or forget to shoot out an email. Instead the simple solution is to make a to-do list.

Your list can be as easy as a post-it note you stick on your agenda, or even a list you compile on your iPhone notes app. Writing down these simple things will make your life easier. It may seem like a hassle to have to type or write down each task, tedious even, but we’re humans, we forget. Think of it like a grocery shopping list. You know that you need things, but once you go to get them, you always forget something simple like butter or milk; an easily forgotten essential. As a simple to-do lister, you do not need to constantly update your list, but visit it daily to see what needs to be done and what has already been completed.

If you’re a hardcore to-do list maker like me, you have color coded post-its depending on the urgency or topic, a to-do list app, and extra post-its on hand at all times. While I get overwhelmed at times with so many lists, they keep me sane in the end. If I don’t keep myself organized, things will slip away and never get done. You don’t have to call yourself a crazy lister like me, but you’ll be thankful that you write things out and the people around you will be glad too.

While writing out to-do lists may seem like a simple task, there are a few things you should remember.

  1. Never start a new list when one isn’t completed. Unless you are organizing to-do lists by topic, having multiple to-do lists will confuse you and may overwhelm you with thoughts of having too much to do.
  2. Always put your lists in one place. You don’t want to have a panic attack when you find your old, completed list but not the new one, so always keep them in the same spot. Stack them in a corner on your desk, write them out on a whiteboard you’ve posted on your wall, or get an app.
  3. Write tasks in detail. I’m not talking about major detail, but more than just ‘send Andrea email.’ Send Andrea an email for what? When you get to that task, you will more than likely forget what you were supposed to email Andrea.

If you ever begin to feel a bit overwhelmed by your to-do list, pick the simplest task on it and get it done. The best feeling is crossing off a task. At that exact moment, you will regain some sanity and remember that a to-do list isn’t something to cause stress, but instead relieve it.

Take one task at a time and before you know it, you’ll be a to-do list conqueror. Happy listing!

Emily Kong

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