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Do you make a to-do list, only to lose it before it's completed? Lisa Hess offers tips for keeping track of your lists.

Last September, I found the perfect planner. While I must admit I judged a book by its cover (I bought it because it's pretty), I grew to love it for what was inside.

Despite the fact that I've never been a fan of undated planners, this one turned out to be perfect. What makes it so special? It not only incorporates my lists, it revolves around them. 

As someone of a certain age with an I need to see it personal style, writing things down has gone from necessity to survival skill. With space on the left side of each page for scheduled events and space on the right for my daily priorities and to-do list, this planner truly lets me see my whole day on one page. As a result, I've curtailed my here a list, there a list, everywhere a scribbled list system and, best of all, put everything in one place where I can see it.

If you, too, are a list-maker (is there anyone who isn't?), here are a few ways to keep track of those lists and make them work for you.


Give it a home. 

As described above, this can be a game changer. Making it a habit to put your list in the same place every time -- whether it's a planner, a notebook, a whiteboard or some other tool -- makes it more likely that you'll keep track of everything rather than scrambling to find a random scrap of paper. 


Keep it short. 

As much as I love lists, I find it overwhelming when they get too long. That's part of the reason I love the fact that my planner leaves room for only three priorities each day, and has a finite number of lines below those three main things for my daily list. If you prefer a master list to a daily list, have at it -- but consider subdividing and conquering on a daily basis so that you don't need to take a nap after you read all you have to do. You can highlight items, star them, box things off, or transfer a handful (that's five) of items onto a daily list. Bonus of that last one? You get to check the same thing off twice.


List by style

As someone with an I need to see it personal style, I'm not one to tuck lists into my purse.  Though I'm improving when it comes to writing things down on random scraps of paper, I'm not above using a brightly colored sticky note to jot down something I must not forget. Choose the listing tools that work best for you. If that means splurging on a pretty notepad (or planner) or a big, fat, Sharpie marker, it's money well spent if it helps you keep track of things. Consider it an investment in your sanity.


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And some days, it pays to list in reverse. If you get to the end of a day feeling as though you've accomplished nothing, take a few minutes to create a backwards to-do list, writing down everything you can think of that you've done that day. Often, these kinds of lists leave us pleasantly surprised. 

Lists, like any other organizing tool, should make life easier for us. How can you make your list work for you?


to-do list sticky note on top of a planner with a pen



Copyright 2022 Lisa Hess
Images: Canva Pro