Here’s My To-Do List and 5 Things I Do To Actually Follow It

Raise your hand if you’ve ever written a list of actionable tasks, only to slump over your desk, discouraged, without even starting. I found a way to avoid this. Recently, I started making a special to-do list.

Yes, the candle is required. Just kidding.

1. Your first task should be whatever gives you energy to tackle the rest of the tasks.

Working out gives me energy, and I don’t give myself long enough to think about whether I want to. I take advantage of my morning brain fog, grab a banana, and get right to it. After that, I make a real breakfast (whoever calls bananas a real breakfast needs a stern talking-to).

2. I looked at my life goals and thought about how today’s goals get me one step closer to accomplishing them. For example, I’m learning Spanish because a company that I want to be a vendor for in the future likes their employees to speak more than 2 languages. What convinced me to make a to-do list was the knowledge that this to-do list was essential for my future.

3. You should always make to-do lists in order of priority. I make my lists in blocks of three. That way, even if I do only the first three tasks, they are my most important ones. After working out, I scored and summarized 4 assessments. Then, I edited my book.

4. Schedule the things you dislike (such as editing) first. My book, Half and Half, is finished. I can credit long bus rides in LA traffic for this feat. You know what I like least about writing? Editing. But first drafts are never great (trust me, the first literary agent who looked at my book said about as much). So, I put editing in the top 3 tasks.

After the first 3 tasks, you could always make it a Bare Minimum Day, but I was determined to get through more of my list. Next, I needed to apply to a scholarship. One of the recommendation letters for this scholarship is from a brilliant professor. He is a bit intimidating. It’s gotten to the point where I see his emails (which are overwhelmingly kind, mind you) and don’t open them. I want my responses to be polished and perfect because I have so much respect for him. The result? I procrastinated opening this email for 4 days. I opened it. His letter was possibly the nicest thing I’ve ever read in my life. I printed both recommendation letters, wrote the scholarship essay, included my transcripts, and sealed it all in a manila envelope.

Then! I got a call! from a grad school! It was an acceptance! (I’m not going to say to where, but I am going to say that I am excited, in case the exclamation points did not clue you in). This meant, of course, that I had to have an hour-long conversation with everyone in my immediate family, squeal on the phone while talking with the director of admissions (the time for playing it cool is over), and generally have a good time.

5. Prepare for the unexpected; the things on your to-do list won’t all be accomplished, and that isn’t a bad thing.

Like I said, the grad school thing took about an hour. Unless you know that you will be accepted into a grad program at a particular time on a particular day (and if you do, I want to know which one!) you obviously can’t plan for it. But after my phone calls, it was business as usual. I went back to my to-do list and am happy to report success. I worked for Continuity Care, spent about 20 minutes learning Spanish using an app called Speak Tribe (it’s kind of addicting), and then the day was finished.

Published by adventuresofagradgirl.wordpress.com

Hi, I'm Vera. I'm starting grad school for neuropsychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

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