How To Actually Finish A To-Do List

Holy cow, how many times have I sat down, wrote out a to-do list longer than Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, then completely forgot about it only to never actually do anything on the to-do list? Probably more times than I can count on both hands if we’re honest here. 

So recently, I’ve been trying to find ways to create productive to-do lists that I can actually finish. After much trial and error, I’ve come down to 5 things that help accomplish this feat. Here is how to actually, seriously finish a to-do list. For real, though. 

Take the time to set due dates

Sure, “someday” is fine every now and then, but give yourself hard due dates for things that need to get done. Knowing you need to finish project x by date y is a great way to remind yourself to complete tasks.

Tell someone close to you

Have someone hold you accountable for your list and check in with you to see how different tasks are coming along. This not only takes some of the pressure off of your shoulders, but it also helps you have a reminder that’s slightly harder to ignore.

Reward yourself as you go

Take a trip, go out to that fancy restaurant, or buy the thing you’ve been saving up for when you finish a task. Big or small, incentives really can help motivate you to get more done. 

Write a draft list, then a final list

Take it back to the days of writing school papers and make a draft then a final. It may take slightly more time, but this can help you to make sure you’re not pushing yourself too hard or setting unobtainable goals by taking a second look. 

Keep your list organized

This is so important! Having a ‘master list’ of everything you need to do ever may sound like a good idea at the time, but when you actually go back to start checking things off it can be hard to stay focused. Organize your to-do list(s) by categories and eliminate some of that mess-induced stress. 

To-do lists (heck, lists in general) are awesome. They can help you get and stay on a productive track in your life. However, what’s the fun in a list that never gets used? The absolute best part of a to-do list is when you’re able to check that box or mark through that task, signifying that you’ve completed it. Take these tips and starting checking some boxes, friends!

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