How to save time with a ‘To Do’ list

There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing something off your ‘To Do’ list. We all struggle with getting stuff done sometimes, but making a list is a great starting point when it comes to saving time.

May 5, 2022

People who make a list of what they need to do, tend to procrastinate less, and get more done in their day; but how you write this list is also important.

Firstly, write down everything you need to do on paper. This won’t be your ‘to do’ list but it’s a way of getting out all those anxiety inducing tasks which are floating around in your head. If you don’t get them out, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  

Some people list things in order of importance and work their way down. Some people write everything down randomly, then highlight those which need doing first. When prioritising tasks, be realistic about how long things will take and what else you have to do.  

Be specific

Just writing ‘get fit’ or ‘service the car’ won’t really help! The more detail you add, the more likely you are to complete the task.

For example:

  • Go for a 15-minute walk at lunchtime.
  • Call the mechanic at 8.00am to book the car in for its annual service.

Benefits of list writing

  • A to-do list allows us to get all that stuff that is swirling around in our heads out of there.  This saves incredible amounts of time by being organised rather than wasting time procrastinating.   
  • The feeling of moving forward and scratching off items on your to-do list feels great!  
  • When we write things down, we create accountability for ourselves to accomplish that goal.
  • You can see everything in one place rather than trying to remember them, or writing things down on random sticky notes, then losing them.
  • The simple act of creating a list can calm anxiety. It’s like the first step in a plan, making you feel as though progress has been made.  
  • Research has shown that your brain will keep obsessing about a task until it’s done. But once it’s completed, your brain quickly moves on to something else.

Depending on your schedule you can make short- or long-term lists. A daily list will give your day structure, so you don’t waste hours on your phone or watching TV. Weekly lists can give you more flexibility in case your day doesn’t go as planned.

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