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Taking Control of the To-Do List

Today I’m tackling my to-do list and by tackling I mean deleting more than fifteen items. Not finishing them, not even trying, just deleting.

I have a number of to-do lists. My electronic list automatically reminds me of those things I need to make sure get done on a daily, weekly, monthly or annual basis. It can involve anything from pushing for a contract renewal to finances to reading submissions or writing blog posts. I don’t want to start the New Year with a to-do list filled with overdue items, items that were automatically loading (and not getting done) while we were closed. All that does is weigh me down. A new year should be started fresh and with enthusiasm and with the items that will propel you to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself.

If you haven’t already done so, take a close look at your to-do list and really analyze which of those overdue items are moving you in the direction you want to go in for 2017, versus which are simply still there from days, weeks or months ago and you feel like you’re supposed to complete them.

I’m ten minutes into my morning and my to-do list is looking pretty good. Fifteen items have been deleted and one blog post checked off. Not a bad start.

Category: Blog



  1. Jessica- how do you keep your to-do lists?? Is there a system you have found most helpful? I sometimes use ‘Notes’ on my phone, but more often than not write ny lists on paper—which have an annoying habit of running away from me.

    1. I have sort of a 3-step system. I have an app called Things that I run on my computer and my phone. I used to love this app more than I do now, but I still find it very useful. I can program to-dos and reminders. Especially things like “call Author on Date to ask her to….” or for regular things, like every Monday I write a blog post, or update my banking.

      I use reminders on my phone for when I’m out and about or when I need something to happen at a certain time, not just a date. So at 6pm remind me to… This works better for me for personal stuff than it does for work.

      And I do have bits of paper. A list I write for myself almost every morning just to prioritize how the day should go.

      1. Thx Jessica!! About a year ago I gave up the paper calendar & put everything on icalendar. This year I’d like to get better about organizing to-do’s, random thoughts I want to get back to, and my kindle TBR/books I’ve read that I want to remember what I loved about & why. Looking for any help I can get!! 🙂

  2. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who still uses paper. For me, it’s the act of writing something down in longhand. I don’t need to see the paper later to remember what I’m supposed to do, as long as I’ve written it down.

    Of course, it’s also a handy way to get my husband to do the grocery shopping. I write down the list “for me,” get busy, and text a photo of the list to him. I don’t think he realizes that I planned it that way in the first place.

  3. I’ve fallen in love with the bullet journal, precisely because it’s not predesigned, so if I take a break, or fall into disorganization, I can pick it back up again where ever I am. Migrating everything every week means I can let go tasks regularly. It’s been a huge help for work.

    It’s also part daily log, so I can log how much time I’ve squeezed in editing or writing, and make sure I’m meeting those goals as well.

    Mine is ugly, though, not like the ones on pinterest. My alma mater has a T-shirt that says “ugly but useful” (in Latin), and it would be the perfect cover for my bullet journal.

  4. I did a little research (I say little because, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for) and decided to download two apps: Wunderlist and Evernote. Going to try reaching for them instead of scraps of paper! I looked into a bullet journal, too, but figured something I could access from anywhere rather, than a notebook that might not be at hand when I need it, would be the best option for me. Thx everyone!

  5. I am 100% a paper list person. I’ve tried electronic, but having a list staring at me on my desk really helps with sticking to it and getting through the tasks. I found electronic lists rather frustrating.

    I have a lot of lists (mostly to keep track of everything), but every night I write out the ‘to do’ list for the next day. If there’s anything from that day I haven’t achieved I will carry that over as well (and some of the tasks are things that will take more than one day – but the idea is I work on them a little bit everyday to get them done).

    I love lists. If I don’t have my lists I feel life is a bit too chaotic. Writing it all down in a list gives me a feeling of control over everything which makes me feel positive and happy (must be a personality thing). The bonus is I also achieve a lot more when I have my to do list at hand.

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