Like probably 90% of people, you’ve also had at least once in your life a To-do list. It didn’t turn out too good, did it? Yes, I was in the same position countless times just like you and I thought that it was pointless to have a To-do list. But what if I told you that it is quite important to have a place to write down your goals and that you’ve been doing it all wrong until now? I know, how hard can it be to create a To-do list, right?
Well, since so many people still fail to consistently fill in a To-do list and keep it for more than a week I suppose there is a hidden trick there to it. I’m writing this to stress out what a difference it can make in your life to have a To-do list IF done the right way.
Now I’m going to share the secrets to having a To-do list that actually benefits you and doesn’t just take your time to fill or carry around:
Having your day planned in advance
Humans can make only that many decisions a day, this is why it’s critical not to waste them on pointless things such as which shirt to put on today or which cereal should I try. By having a To-do list you can plan your day step by step the night before and have everything set for your the next day. A lot of people tend to just drift off or waste their time on something completely unproductive if they don’t know what to do at that exact time.
A list like that gives you reassurance that you will be taken care of throughout the whole day. Once you have it set up you won’t need to think the next day about which one you should do first and if you would have the time to do it.
The best thing about having a To-do list is that it doesn’t care about feelings, it won’t ask you if you are ok with doing this and that. The moment you write down something that needs to be done you become the only one responsible to do it.
You’d rarely do something if there was no reward at the end, right? The reason I find having a list a great motivator is because of the dopamine surge it gives you at the end of every task. It has been proven that when you finish a task and then scratch it off your list you get a sense of achievement. Be it something simple like making your bed first thing in the morning or doing 300 push-ups in a single set it doesn’t matter as both will charge you with a certain amount of dopamine and of course fulfillment. I use an app called Wunderlist which I highly recommend to everybody that really wants to commit to this.
There is no need to carry a notebook or even worse a rugged piece of paper everywhere you go anymore. All you need is the app on your phone and you’re clear to go. Just type in your task set the date and you’re set for the next day or even the whole week. What’s more, you have the option to view your past tasks and actually see how much you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.
It’s one thing to have just a vague idea of how many days in a row you’ve been doing something or how many things you’ve done, but it’s a whole different story when you actually have it written down and saved somewhere. The amount of content you’ll get when you go through the lists of your previous days/weeks will be incredible.
Motivation to go on
As I mentioned earlier making a To-do list is not hard, but keeping one is. Most people get bored after the third or the fourth day of doing it just because they didn’t take the time to turn it into a habit. However having a list like that also helps you in a way to keep yourself accountable for your actions.
If you don’t have anywhere to write down all your tasks you need to complete in a day you can easily forget some of them and just blame it on something that kept you distracted from what was important. Just as I mentioned in the previous paragraphs it’s normal to forget something, but if you have a To-do list you won’t let yourself do the same mistake and you will include it next time you plan your day.
At the end of the day, you will judge if the day was successful just by looking at the completed and still pending tasks you have. From there on you can decide for yourself if it was because one of the tasks took you too long or you were just too busy watching cat videos on Youtube. Very few people hold themselves accountable for the mistakes they make and just prefer to blame external factors for their failures. The tasks on your list don’t lie and won’t hide if you’ve been slacking off.
Not having a To-do list certainly won’t mean that you won’t succeed in what you want and you don’t necessarily need to have one. However a list a list is something that would motivate and build you as a person in the long run. By filling in tasks and goals every day you are making a commitment to yourself. Every day you make a commitment to yourself
Every day you make a commitment to yourself with the idea that at the end of the day it will be only up to you to clear that list. It won’t be anybody else’s responsibility to do that for you and that is where growth comes from. So even if you have tried it already, try it again.
Do it for a few days or a week and decide for yourself if it works for you or not. At the end of the day all you can do from all this is benefit.