My To-Do List Notebook

Last weekend I had three days off in a row because of the Presidents’ day holiday. I actually didn’t realize until Friday at work that I had Monday off. I didn’t even know businesses closed on Presidents’ day! It was a pleasant surprise, and I was mentally thinking about all the things I was going to get done and all of the reading I would be able to do with my time off.

Come Monday, I couldn’t believe that two whole days had already passed and I hadn’t crossed anything off of my mental checklist. I didn’t clean or do any homework, and I didn’t even read! I honestly could not tell you what I even did with my time. So Monday morning, I took out a pen and a pad of paper and wrote down not everything that I wanted to get done, but everything that I needed to get done. When I finished, I had a list of at least fifteen things that I needed to do in about six hours.

To Do
Not my list from Monday because I trashed it, but you get the idea. :)

So I got to work. I started with a couple of easy things, like responding to some overdue emails and submitting some assignments for my online class that I had finished two weeks ago and just never bothered to submit yet. I crossed two things off the list. Then I cleaned the whole apartment since we were having company over the next day. Crossed that off the list. I dug through our pile of important documents and sent some of our tax information to my dad. Crossed that off the list. I was so motivated to cross everything that I could off of my list before my class that evening, that there were only two things that I didn’t have the time to do. But I was so proud of myself that I spent my whole Monday being productive instead of wasting it away like I had the previous two days.

And then I wondered why I don’t create to-do lists more often. It’s actually one of the first things I do when I get to work. I keep a list of all my ongoing projects and break it down into what I need to get done for that day. It keeps me on track and keeps things from slipping my mind and it helps to see the due dates written down all in one spot. Since it’s so helpful at work, I realized how productive I could be if I started doing it at home. And then I thought I could by a cute notebook and designate it as my “To-Do Book” and jot things down in it that I wanted to get done.

Notebook
My To-Do Notebook

So I went to the store while out grocery shopping and picked up a cute little notebook that I would use solely for my to do lists. I found journals a bit too big to carry around with me, so I opted for something simpler and smaller. I thought that if I do this daily, then I could use my time more effectively and get more things done. So I went home and wrote out a list of things that I wanted to do in my notebook. By the end of the day, I had crossed everything off! I started this on Tuesday, and by Saturday, I’ve found that I’ve been so much more productive with my time! Plus, I just like crossing things off. :)

I’ve tried something similar before with planners and digital apps, such as Wunderlist, but they never really helped. The tasks would sit there and I’d eventually just forget about the list until I checked back a week later and realized I never updated it. I only ever used planners for school, and while they helped me remember that I had assignments due, they never motivated me to actually do them. Yet, physically writing down my tasks and being able to cross them out with a heavy black marker gets me moving.

It’s really satisfying to look back at the end of the day and see everything that I’ve accomplished. It helps me face the next day, too, knowing that I have that much less to do. It’s certainly not the fanciest process, but it works for me!

13 thoughts on “My To-Do List Notebook”

  1. Yeah I bought a planner too and I write down all my assignments for school. Every weekend, there’s space in my planner to write down stuff I need to do, like laundry, etc. It really comes in handy! I also started a good things journal and I write all the good things that happen to me. I started on January 1, so I can look back at it when December comes around. :)

    Where do you work again? Is it the place you were interning?

    1. For whatever reason, planners don’t help me. I feel more unorganized using them because I’m always afraid I’ve forgotten to write an assignment down or something. But I can totally see how they help other people. I guess I’m just weird, haha.

      I’ve heard of a good things journal before. I love that idea! I’ve also heard similar ones where you write down good things about another person, too. I should start one!

      And yes, I am still working at my internship until May. I use them synonymously since it’s paid.

  2. To do lists are very helpful. I wish I did that, but I kind of keep it all in mind and sometimes I do write it down. I didn’t have school off for President’s day. Boohoo I use pocket planners and that helps me with school and life itself.

  3. I would be lost without having daily on-going to-do lists. It’s definitely my preferred method of organsing myself… plus I like the sense of accomplishment when I can cross something off. It’s a very real feeling

  4. It’s awesome that you had Monday off! I wish we had monday off XD. To-Do lists are always great to keep your mind in the game. I use one of those for my weekly routines recently and it helped a lot. One of the best to-do lists are the shopping lists ;). “Do we have x, y, or z?”

    Those small 5-star notebooks last forever! I still have one from when I started college @___@. I am the same with digital planners- I use them then forget about them.

  5. My husband got President’s Day off, but I didn’t, sigh. I wish I had a 3-day weekend!

    That’s awesome that you were so productive on your Monday off :) Even though I mostly use digital to-do lists (Asana for work, Wunderlist for personal), I agree it’s not as satisfying as physically marking off a written to-do list. A written one is great for when I really need to focus and get things done. It motivates me a lot! I like using small notebooks for them too, and I make sure I have one at both work and home.

    The important thing is that it helps! Doesn’t have to be fancy! :)

  6. Hi there, I’m new around here. Hope you don’t mind! Your blog is super cute!

    I bought a really neat planner from a shop on etsy that I love but I tend to forget to use it. Instead I have a large pile of notebooks that I fill regularly with lists and whatnot!

    1. Hy Krystal! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! Thank you – I try, haha. ;)

      Etsy has the cutest little things, I try to avoid the website because I always find something I like and then spend all my money!

  7. It is very rare that you had Monday off, not a lot of companies have that day off, but glad you did!

    Believe it or not, I still use my planner some times. Not as much as I used too, but I still do on occasion. Planning stuff out like that whether it be a to-do list or using an app or planner, it all helps to motivate us to get something done. I tried Wunderlust, when I was recommended it, but I don’t like using my phone for something very important. You never know when something might happen..i.e.. a virus or something else. Ya know? So, I try to write it out through pen and paper MORE. I like your idea.

  8. I love how you blot out done tasks with a Sharpie, haha. “You’re DONE!”

    I, too, have recently discovered the power of a small notebook for lists. I used to use an app, but when it comes to lists I am a pen and paper person, and it’s speedier to jot down what needs to be done and just work my way through it.

    Congrats on annihilating those tasks, though. Bam.

    Hope you had a great day off!

  9. I have wunderlust too and I set things in my Reminders but I must agree with you, it’s not really helpful in getting work done. I guess I should also try it with the old-fashioned way.

  10. I love Wunderlist but to help me plan better I also write in notebooks. :) I still like to write and every time I get to work it feels like meditation to write in a notebook and make sure I know what I need to do. It helps to get cute notebooks, though I find that for a while I don’t want to write in them because they are so cute! It also helps me when I want to organise big groups of tasks or epics.

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