Making a To-Do List? UnderRated.

Have you ever been overwhelmed and had no idea where to start? 

Let me tell you, that is me in a nutshell. I find I can easily get overwhelmed with schoolwork, paperwork for my job, and just day-to-day life chores.

One incredibly helpful thing is a list. 

A good ole written to-do list on pen and paper. I find if I am stumped on where to start, I quickly jot everything down on my to-do list. Although it can be ambitious as I will write down all my chores and tasks, I find it makes me more productive. Writing it down creates a visual reminder of all the things I need to do. 

Once I write everything I can think of down, I make a mental note of 2 to 3 tasks that are “non-negotiables”. Meaning that the few tasks that I note, are the specific goals for the day, the tasks that I feel like I need to get done. That way, it narrows the focus of everything on the to-do list, making it easier to accomplish my goals. 

I find if I finish more than the 2 or 3 things on my list that I decided were non-negotiables then great! But at the same time, if I stopped after a couple of tasks, then that’s okay too. I remind myself, at least I started, and at least some progress was made. 

Here is an example of my to-do list from Sunday: 

To-Do List:

1. Start the application for PDP -> contact references/brainstorm essays/review resume

2. Put laundry on

3. Make a grocery list -> go to Costco

4. Group zoom meeting

5. Soccer game

6. Homework -> readings pg. 120-180/webpages, finish the brainstorming on assignments

7. Email boss

I find whether it’s brainstorming a sheet or starting my essay if it’s something, it’s progress. 

Sometimes my to-do list will have tasks that I know will get completed no matter what. For instance, on Sunday, I knew I had to go to my group meeting. Like technically I could have skipped it, but that would have been unacceptable to my group and myself. However, I still put it on my to-do list. 

A lot of the to-do list provides a task-oriented system of thinking. As I finish certain tasks or complete what I needed to do, I simply can cross it over my checklist. And let me tell you, the simple pen-to-paper cross out of a word or sentence brings a specific feeling of satisfaction. 

The satisfaction that progress is being made. 

When I am overwhelmed with things, I need to complete, I find making a list eases my stress. As I complete a task, I feel less and less overwhelmed because the visual list, gets shorter and shorter. 

To some extent, the long list days are super intimidating. It can feel super overwhelming when the life/work/school balance all collides. However, when I think of a task or a chore as one single thing at a time, the overwhelming feeling slowly goes away. 

Of course, it’s important to throw some fun or mind-easing things on the to-do list that are there just for you specifically. For example, a self-care practice, or time set aside for a break. I find I need to add some sort of movement to my to-do list every day. For me, that is my break.

Anyway, if you ever feel overwhelmed with your life, school, and or work, try making a to-do list. It may help!

Making a to-do list? UnderRated. 

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