To-Do Lists: What I’ve Learned About Them

Making to-do lists is an art to be mastered. This is a tricky road to roam, and mistakes are waiting for you at every corner. As a list lover I’ve meet some of them. I’ve had to learn the hard way, and for my sacrifice not to be in vain, I thought I could share with you some of the tips I’ve gathered along the way.


  • If you write down the thing you want to do, turns out it doesn’t happen magically. You actually have to do it.


  • Shift from random and volatile to-do lists to writing your objectives in your daily planner. Or transfer them from one to the other every now and then. It makes it all more concrete, and you won’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Another possibility is to look at your main list every day, and to choose some elements and write them on a post-it-for-the-day. The idea is to visually and emotionally enable you not to feel overwhelmed by your ambitions, and give yourself realistic and manageable daily goals.


  • If you don’t tick all the boxes on your list, you are not a failure. You’re human. Imperfection is a non-negotiable part of life. No matter how much you were nailing it, it’s OK to drop some expectations on the road. (Or maybe it’s just because you, like me, don’t like drawing boxes to tick.)


  • It is helpful to be more precise about the action you want to undertake. Especially if this entails anxiogenic parameters, like a phone call or task that seems to be too much for you. Don’t write “call Anny”, and prefer “call Anny around 2oc, ask her how she is, then remind her of that book I landed her and ask her to bring it back next week when we meet”. It seems less daunting and actually fairly simple… almost manageable, innit?


  • Another way to precise your objective is to add some drops of indulgence. It is particularly useful if you feel slightly (or largely) out of time. What I mean by this is that “tidy up the room” might feel too much for you right now —maybe you overslept and are overwhelmed by all the expectations you had for yourself, and suddenly hoovering doesn’t seem so important after all. You may prefer to read “start tidying up the room”. It means what you want it to mean, be it making your bed or chasing every dirty sock that made it under your desk. It takes a bit of the pressure off your shoulders, and still gives you the feeling that you did something good today.


So tell me if any of these were helpful to you!

Do you have any other tricks? The hardcore to-do-lister that I am would appreciate hearing about them. And if you want me to, I can add them on this post, because life is a collective work 😉

Tcho tcho, bisous!

Tati Lalilou