Why & How You Should Create a To-Do list

Even amongst the chaos of the world today, humanity strives for maximum productivity with limited time and resources. I mean, look at the price of fuel and the people you know who will drive a longer distance for cheaper prices. The point being, sometimes in the name of productivity, people end up being counterproductive.

Don’t worry because at nu: notebooks, we have searched the internet far and wide and have concluded a few things.

Firstly, take a breather! Have that much needed break and hydrate!

Secondly, we have discovered that productivity does not have to be so serious or scary. For example, those to-do lists which you seem to make a thousand of… Stop what you are doing, and let’s explore how to make those more efficient and less annoying. Whether you have gone digital or app crazy, we all know that deep down a to-do list is best. Here are some tips to help:

  1. The night before
    Make sure that any preparation for a big day ahead is done the night before. This applies to a to-do list and could also be a useful shield against procrastination, especially with the upcoming academic year. A small nu: notebook will suffice, our craze cloud notebooks can do just the job, without overcomplicating things.

  2. Prioritise
    When writing your list, ensure that you figure out which task(s) are most important. James Clear, who famously wrote ‘Atomic Habits’, has shared a vital component for the top of the to-do list. A post on his website explains how it is a must to make sure you do the most critical thing first, stating that our productivity is at its highest, first thing in the morning. Then he explains that in his own experience, as the days grows older, more unexpected things are likely to get in the way.

  3. Specificity
    Being specific is also significant to getting things done. When not being specific, which could look like this, “Exercise today”.  This is not motivational enough for the brain and when we already have an aversion to a task, being more specific prevents having to make further decisions when the time comes. For example, it is better to write where the exercise will be, what exercise you will be doing, for how long and what time. Therefore, giving our brains less chance to make up excuses, because it is there, plain as day.

  4. Micro-managing
    This could look like being more specific, but it can be helpful to break the bigger tasks down into smaller, more manageable tasks. That way, it feels like you are doing and ticking off a lot more! An example, for that assignment that needs doing, which could be broken down into:

    - Gather resources and references
    - Save a titled file, set to the correct font, named correctly, etc.
    - Write an introduction
    -Create plan for body of essay
    - Write a conclusion
    - Finish first draft
    - Edit/comb through twice
    - Read through again and submit.

    (We also get that small dopamine hit for each little boxes we tick off!)

  5. Expect the unexpected
    Remember that it is never straightforward, and stuff rarely works out exactly as we planned. So, as explained in this article, allocate some time just in case something goes array. If you have eight hours in your workday, make sure you leave one hour out of your planning. This way you know that you have more time if needed. Then if you are lucky, the to—do list will continue perfectly as planned, even after that extra favour you agreed to.

  6. Shorter Lists
    I repeat, SHORTER LISTS. Unfortunately, we are humans, not machines. Let’s practice some self-care and some much needed downtime. What is fortunate about that, is that we can allocate time to others, to what gives us joy and things we need to do to take care of ourselves. Afterall, we cannot possibly be productive without looking after our mind, body and soul as best we can first, right?

To-do lists, and other organisation applications can help us all to be more productive, forget less and get more finished. However, in this fast-paced modern world, the message is that taking on too much will likely stop your flow of productivity all together. Break it down, make it simple and relax!

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