To-do lists

Anum Rizvi '20, Reporter

List-making is a pretty personal thing. Some of us can get in too deep, or organizing the bathroom can turn into several detailed numbered bullet points. Others just procrastinate and write important telephone numbers on the backs of their hands. But even the most basic outline of must-do tasks can help us tackle our most important goals. For one thing, writing out a lot of things in the list can force us to set concrete goals (such as: take out the trash), which can be way more effective than just thinking about vague objectives. Making a written list can help us remember to complete tasks, for instance,so that the trash won’t sit waiting in the kitchen for weeks.

To-do lists come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s what works for the individual. 

“I love the idea of keeping a checklist, but it’s hard to keep up with writing every day in my notebook. I hate to go around just for a paper and write it down, it’s like another work,” said Ghania Khurram, a sophomore.

Science has proven that writing information by hand helps people remember it better. If you don’t feel like writing or are just too lazy to pick up a pen, there’s a lot of apps that can help create lists and keep you on task.

There’s nothing more intimidating than a mile-long to-do list. And, realistically, it’s impossible to get that much stuff done in twenty four hours. One trick for keeping a simple list is: make bigger goals which will trick your mind that there shouldn’t be more than 10 items remaining! Start the list with something that must get done today, so don’t vacuum instead of finishing a project or report due tomorrow. Fold clothes, wash breakfast, do the dishes, and shower are all good examples. Even crossing off silly stuff that is unimportant helps us start the day feeling super-productive. All to-do’s should have these qualities: they’re physical actions, they can be finished in one sitting, and they’re tasks that only the lister can do. For general projects that require lots of time or other people’s help, list specific steps that people can take towards those goals. 

“Yeah, I always get caught up with different things that are not important and use up all my time in things that are not that important at that time” said Zahra Algilaly . a junior.

Now that you’ve made the list, put a time estimate next to every item. It might even help to turn the to-do list into a kind of schedule with specific times and places. For example: do laundry at 4-6 p.m. , clean inbox 6-7 p.m., visit Starbucks before 8pm. When time’s up, it’s up!

Sometimes the best way to stay accountable is to have someone watching over you.. Try sharing to do lists, whether by posting it on the refrigerator or making a new list every day so the same old items don’t clog up the agenda. It’s also a useful way to make sure we actually get something done every 24 hours and don’t just spend time decorating notes with fancy highlighters.