How to shorten your to do list by making three

Photo by Luis Llerena via Unsplash

I’ve always been a huge to do list maker.

Not only do I make a lot of to do lists, they are also very long.

Too long.

Impossible to achieve long.

Until I recently started to experiment with making three to do lists:

  • one is created with logic
  • one is created with intuition
  • one combines logic and intuition

I was originally going to call this post, “How to make a to do list with both sides of your brain,” but then I read that the “right brain” and “left brain” aren’t as dichotomous as we were once led to believe.

Here’s how the process works:

Each day, I start by making a traditional to do list. It’s usually rather long (I can think of a lot of things to do!) and comes together quickly. It can look something like this:

Then, I make a to do list using my feelings and intuition. I slooooooow down, close my eyes and ask, “What do I really need to do today?” Rather than think of the answer, I try to listen for it. The answer can come in words, feelings, or images. The second list is often shorter than the first and can look something like this:

Finally, I make a third list that combines the two lists and includes things that:

  1. Show up on both lists. If I think and feel that something needs to happen, it must be a priority.
  2. I know has to get done whether I feel like it, or not (e.g. pay bills). These are usually time sensitive to dos that show up on the first list.
  3. Surprises me. These items are usually from the second list (e.g. call a friend I haven’t thought of in years).

My final to do list looks something like this:

Although it takes longer to make the three lists than if I just made one, the final list is always more manageable in size, more focused on what truly needs to happen that day, and sometimes contains a fun surprise!

If you try this for yourself, I would recommend writing your final to-do list on a small piece of paper so that it literally can’t be too long. I use 8.5 x 11 scrap paper that I cut into quarters.

What is your favorite way to make a to do list?

If you give this way a try, lemme know how it goes!