A to-do list that says “mainly procrastinate

Secrets for Creating To-Do Lists That Actually Work

Discovering how to make a to-do list can be a game-changer and even a life-changer if you do it right. Of course, everyone knows the basic approach—make a list of what you need to do—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Incorporating some science-backed tips and tricks can help you unlock your full productivity potential in a big way.

If you regularly find yourself creating and then ignoring to-do lists (it happens to the best of us), it’s time to adjust your strategy. After all, a to-do list should be a helpful tool, not an exercise in futility! Here’s how to start creating to-do lists that do what they’re supposed to do.

1. Write by Hand

Studies have shown that writing by hand comes with some major brain-boosting benefits. The act of putting pen to paper boosts memory retention, enhances conceptual understanding, inspires creativity, and improves focus and attention span.

While it might be tempting to opt for the convenience of a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, jotting your to-do list the old-school way is the key to sealing that list into your brain so you can turn those to-dos into dones.

If you prefer the convenience and accessibility that creating to-do lists on a digital device provides, a Rocketbook reusable notebook or planner gives you the best of both worlds.

Here’s how to make a to-do list in the modern era with a Rocketbook:

  1. Write your list by hand using a Pilot FriXion pen and our erasable synthetic paper
  2. Upload your list to your preferred cloud service via the free Rocketbook scanning app. 
  3. Keep your handwritten list on your preferred device for easy access
  4. Erase your list with a damp cloth
  5. Repeat over and over

2. Create Different Lists for Different Situations

Learning how to organize your to-do list by priorities is helpful, but more importantly, you should work on creating to-do lists for different aspects of your life. Don’t just break your list down by what’s most urgent. Make different lists for different scenarios.

For example, you could have one list that covers your workday, one that covers your short and long-term personal goals, and another that covers obligations with family and friends. Everyone’s life is different, so don’t feel obligated to stick with these specific categories.

If you’re struggling to categorize your lists, start by making one master list. From there, you can start to connect the dots and turn that long list into multiple shorter lists.

3. Capture Your Ideas Immediately

Creating to-do lists doesn’t have to be a once-a-day brainstorming activity. Instead, write down your to-dos as soon as you think of them. Once you make real-time note-taking a regular habit, you might be surprised when you realize how many tasks (and genius ideas) get forgotten throughout the day!

Even if you don’t follow through with everything on your list, just writing them down makes a big difference in staying in touch with your daily thoughts. As you learn how to make a to-do list and refine your approach, you’ll start to recognize the to-dos that should be put to paper and prioritized.

4. Celebrate Your Achievements

A smiling woman standing in front of a colorful wall

Be kind to yourself! Creating to-do lists is a great way to hold yourself accountable, but it can do more harm than good if you’re not careful. Sometimes you’re not going to complete everything on your list, and that’s okay. Instead of punishing yourself when you fail, reward yourself when you succeed. This approach will help you to avoid associating to-do lists with negative emotions.

5. Tackle Big Tasks in Small Increments

Major priorities can be intimidating. If a certain item on your list makes you feel overwhelmed, break it down into subsections—make a to-do list for it!

For example, if you have a big public speaking presentation coming up, try creating to-do lists in manageable segments: research the topic, create an outline, write your script, and then rehearse it. As you learn how to organize your to-do list, you’ll find that the big things in life become smaller and, in turn, much easier to handle.

Get Your Rocketbook Today

Knowing how to make a to-do list is a small step—using the right tools is a giant leap! Explore our reusable notebooks and planners to find the Rocketbook that inspires you to adopt a list-making system that really works for you. While you’re at it, be sure to pick up some handy accessories. We also have a variety of reusable supplies that boost productivity while reducing paper waste.

Creating to-do lists may already be on your mental to-do list. It’s time to turn that dream into reality! Rocketbook products make creating real, physical lists a fun process that you’ll genuinely look forward to doing throughout your day.

Curious about the Rocketbook movement? Learn more about how it works to fully understand the incredible potential. Ready to blast off? Do what you need to do with handwritten, digital to-do lists powered by Rocketbook!

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