Artful Advice

How to Conquer that To-Do List

We’re all prone to procrastination. Whether it’s scrolling blindly through social media feeds or making another cup of tea five minutes after you last made one (guilty!), finding ways to keep ourselves from doing the things we’re actually meant to be doing is just too easy. But then comes the eventual feeling of disappointment (or worse if there’s deadlines involved) when you look at your unticked list at the end of the day.

To help you avoid this feeling, we’ve listed a few tips that will keep you focused on the tasks at hand – because that cup of tea you didn’t really want never makes you feel as good as striking through your to-dos.

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Break up your tasks into smaller steps
Chief reason for never getting things done is thinking that the task is too big. Often, from afar we view the mammoth objective we want to complete and are put off ever starting by fear of how long it will take. If we’re more specific though, and start with the smaller steps it takes to get there, then the whole thing becomes much more manageable.


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Prioritise (but start with something simple)
Write out your To Dos in order of priority and stick to this. There’s nothing worse than spending ages on a task you know isn’t urgent but doing it instead of one that is because that thing just seems like the bane of your life. However, sometimes starting the day with something which isn’t top of your priorities but is quick and easy is a a great way to kick your brain into gear.


Give yourself deadlines
Put the times you’ll start and finish alongside your tasks, that way you’re not going to write a huge To Do list at the start of the day that you have no chance of actually finishing. But give yourself a bit of cushion time for tea making/Game of Thrones chatting/lost stapler searching.


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Have multiple lists
New tasks constantly crop up. If they’re not urgent, start a Master list and add them to that, rather than that day’s To Do list. Stick to what you’ve planned as doable for the day.


Start afresh
Don’t keep adding to the same list that then never ends. Instead, start a new, doable one every day and then when you’ve struck out that last task, sit back and bask in the glow of a fully completed To Do list.


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Turn your phone/laptop/internet browsing device off
Evidently this can be hard if you need the internet on your computer for whatever it is your doing but do you need to check your emails constantly? Sometimes turning off alerts and dedicating two to three periods of your day for going through your emails means you’ll be far more productive. As for your phone, you’ll be surprised how much more you can get done by simply removing it from your desk.


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Treat yourself
At the end of each task give yourself a little break. Whether it's reading an article, going for a coffee or simply taking a short stroll to the water cooler. Then you can tackle your next task with fresh thinking.


Get a head start on conquering that tricky to-do list with a new notebook. Browse through our complete collection here, or leaf through the selection below.

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