New ways to make to-do lists

We’re so used to the usual image for a to-do list – a bunch of items, one per line, on a long list – that we rarely stop to think if the format actually works for us. Maybe something a bit different would work better?

If your to-do list doesn’t really work for you, why don’t you try to experiment and find new formats for your tasks? Try them out, keep what works (or at least doesn’t get in your way), lose the rest.

Here’s a bunch of ideas to try out:

  • Draw! Make sketches and drawings instead of writing things out.

  • Use sticky notes on a board, or use scraps of paper on a pushpin board!

  • Write one task on a big piece of paper to keep in front of you. Take another paper and write a new task only when you’re completely done with the first.

  • Take a piece of paper that’s skinny but wide, like a horizontal scroll. Fold it up or roll its ends around two pens so you can only see one or a few items at a time.

  • Use a whiteboard instead of paper.

  • Try using a mental map instead of a list.

  • Take short strips of paper, punch a hole on one end and put the papers together on a keyring. Write a task on each one. Enjoy ripping the paper off the ring when you’re done with the task!

  • In fact, don’t stop there – enjoy shredding the paper into tiny pieces when you’re done with the task you wrote on it!

  • If you don’t enjoy shredding paper but crossing items off a list isn’t satisfying either, try drawing little boxes by the tasks and check them off or color them in when you’re done.

  • Try something silly! Choose a theme, a color, or a letter for your day, then group the tasks accordingly. For example, for a “G“-day, go to the library, google “getting things done”, and get a notebook.

  • Take a piece of paper with room for one hundred tasks and write in the number beforehand. Even on your most overwhelmed days, you’ll probably have much less to do than 100 tasks!

  • Get a tiny piece of paper with space for only three entries. Take care of your three most important tasks and then relax.

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