The Magic of the To-Done List by Clare of Hello!Hooray!
We all love a good to-do list don't we, but have you ever tried writing a to-done list? Mama, maker and blogger Clare Albans of Hello! Hooray! is encouraging you all to try one and sharing some simple tips to get you started... (This article was originally featured in issue 9 of the Procrastination Paper - Lists & Organisation - in September 2019)
I have always been the kind of person who has at least three different to-do lists on the go, and that's not counting the mental lists that I make of stuff that I need to do or would like to do at some point. Writing down a list of tasks can be helpful, especially when you're juggling a lot of things, but when our second child was born in March I began to feel a little overwhelmed by my to-do lists. I just kept thinking of more and more things that "needed" to be done, then wondering how on earth we would ever tick anything off! I have always just added extra things that I have completed to the bottom of my to-do list anyway, so I decided to try making a to-done list instead.
A to-done list is a list of things that you have achieved in a day or a week (or longer if you prefer, but I like to keep it short). Instead of writing down everything that you should do, you make a list of things that you have done. For example, you could write down tasks that you have completed, such as 'Cleaned the bathroom' or 'Posted my friend's birthday present'. But it could also be things that seem like much smaller achievements ordinarily, but are actually huge things if you're going through a difficult patch. Things like 'Cooked myself a nice lunch', 'Went for a walk in the sunshine' or even 'Got dressed today'. It doesn't matter how big or small they are – seeing what you have achieved on a to-done list is brilliant, and it has had a really positive impact on my mental health.
Sometimes I sit down at the end of the day and write my to-done list, rather than writing it as I go along. It's lovely to give myself time and space to sit and think about the day and what I have achieved. More often than not I am surprised by everything that I have managed to fit in – yay! Don't get me wrong, the to-do lists still exist (I am so forgetful that I need to write things down!), but the magic of the to-done list has helped me to view tasks more positively and put my mental health at the heart of that. If you've never tried writing a to-done list, why not give it a go?
CLARE'S TIPS FOR WRITING A TO-DONE LIST
- Try not to put any pressure on yourself to have a certain number of achievements on your to-done list each day.
- Make sure that you physically write your list down. Sometimes I do it in my head, but being able to see it on paper is the most helpful way.
- Look back on what you have achieved. You could stick your lists up on your wall or keep them in one notebook, so you can look back and see everything that you have achieved!
- If you only did two things today but completed seven tasks yesterday, that's OK! Having quieter, more restful days is just as important as having productive ones.