The art of making to-do lists you'll actually fulfil

guest post by our ambassador, Elena Zanon [read this article in Italian on our Medium page - make sure to follow us if you don't want to miss the next articles]

What is the first thing you think about when you feel overwhelmed? Probably something like...

"I won’t finish anything, I have too many things to do!!!"

Some days at the #inchiostrolab are manic: dozens of orders to be shipped, emails and messages waiting for a replay, invoices to be paid and invoices to be sent. We have been searching for a long time a method to keep in mind all the tasks that have to be done/completed during the week and, surprise-surprise, we have discovered that the best way is to use: ink and paper or, as we like to say, inchiostro and paper.

If you really wish to stop procrastinating on your projects and goals, to-do lists are a great tool to rethink and adopt in your daily life. Whether you are a student or a professional, having an organised overview of your activities, day by day, week by week, will help you achieve your goals and especially your dreams.

Here there are some tips and suggestions that will help you to make to-do lists you’ll actually fulfil. Discover the best to-do list for you and share our tips by using #inchiostroandpaper.

But first things first! Grab a cup of coffee and keep reading

1. Write down a weekly to-do list with your priority tasks

For most people, Monday is the first working day of the week. The best way to start a productive week is to decide which are the most important things to get done and set your weekly goals. On this weekly to-do list, you won’t write down all the tasks, just the most important.

2. Write down your daily to-do list, organising the tasks in order of importance

When you are done with the urgent taskes, you can start with the rest of the list. The best method to fulfil your daily to-do lists is to decide 1-2 big goals and divide them into smaller activities and tasks.

3. Set specific time slots for specific activities (and stick to it!)

Working on the same platform will help you save time and being more focused on what you are doing. For example, decide to check your emails only as first thing in the early morning and after your lunch break, while the rest of the working time will be for other things and completing your tasks.

4. Don’t overdo it!

When you write your to-do list, don't add too many tasks to it and be sure to check the time at your disposal.

Write specific (little actions are better than long and complicated things) and especially measurable tasks: set a timeframe during the working hours to complete the task. In order to be more productive, we suggest you use the Pomodoro Technique!

5. Use keys to prioritise your tasks

Exactly like in our Bullet and Paper Book, you could start using keys to prioritise your to-do list. Every key has its own meaning and will help you to keep track of your work during the day. Even if you don't want to adopt the method, you can definitely start using the Bullet Journal keys even if you only use a simple piece of paper. By using the keys, you will easily scan your list and find the uncompleted tasks.

In the picture below, you can find some examples for to-do list’s keys, but the method is very easy: decide some symbols and link a specific action with them (completed, work in progress, cancelled, migrated, next month, private life).

Once you buy your Bullet and Paper Book, you can also download for free our printable keys and bujo stickers from the comfort of your own home.

6. Rest time is crucial to be productive

When we get really busy, we easily forget to take time to take breaks to eat, go to the loo etc. But it is essential that after some time in front of your computer or whatever activity you do, you stand up and have some relax: drink a cup coffee or your favourite drink, have a little walk around the office or your studio. Staying focused for a long time is productive, but don’t forget that your brain needs to rest in order to function.

7. Create a 5-minute to-do list.

This 5-minute to-do list method will help you to find time and space for yourself. For example, you can use this method to engage in your favourite or personal activities during your breaks. Personally, when I take a long break after 4 sessions of intense work I play some music, listen to a short podcast or read for 15/20 minutes. It's a great way to disengage from work and do things I enjoy and that I would never find time to get done otherwise.

8. The last check at the end of the day

Last but not least, using a to-do list is quite useless without a final check at the end of the day or end of the week. Exactly like in the Bullet Journal method, we scroll through our lists to check what we have completed and what needs to be migrated to the following day/week/month.

All in all, to-do lists are a useful instrument to become more organised and productive if we learn how to use them and don't get overwhelmed by them. Once you've found a method that works for you, make sure to practising and adapting it to you day after day in order to achieve your best set up.

Say goodbye to procrastination!

Wish to read more? Here are some interesting articles:

- 7 Minimalist Bullet Journal Ideas

- 5 Bullet Journal Ideas for your Travels

- Bullet Journal - The Foundation: Your Index Pages

- What is a Bullet Journal and how to start one too

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