5 Must Have Tips for Making the Most out of your “To-Do” List

Have you felt completely swamped and made a to-do list but that stressed you out even more? Today I want to try and offer some advice on getting your butt organized, the least stressful way possible! I also want to help you make the most out of your To-Do Lists by offering some simple tips and brain tricks! 

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Welcome back to the “Getting my butt organized'” series:

Today we are talking about “To-Do”lists or as I like to call them “Justifying a Nap List”. So in the process of changing careers I have been literally thrown a massive to-do list from nursing school, but there are also SO MANY other things I have to get done in order to be as “prepared” (aka in straight up survival mode) as I can be when August comes and I close a chapter and open another going a million miles an hour with no helmet. So this post is going to be an example of what I’m doing to keep my sanity while accomplishing what I need to on my  daily “To-Do”.

Let’s start by looking at my situation…

What I’m losing by leaving a stable career (besides my sanity) 

  • income (oh my lanta…. don’t remind me…not that it was that much anyway but it was better than a stick in the eye)
  • health insurance
  • predictability (which just so happens to trigger my anxiety- go figure)

What I NEED going into Nursing school (requirements):

  • income (bills don’t just disappear)
  • health insurance (they won’t let me in without it)
  • sanity (am I screwed here?)

I can figure this out with the help of Jesus and his friend…. well we will just call her Vino.

I’m gonna be 100% real with all of my wonderful readers (like the 3 of you haha) because this “life change” has been like a life crash and try to escape alive situation. It’s not like I have this all figured out…. I’m still deciding if I need to commit myself or continue to just “go with the flow”. (I know it seems I’m making light of this but my way of handling stress of this kind is to laugh…so I don’t cry. Mental illness is serious and I hope I don’t offend anyone. If I did- I apologize).

To-Do Lists can help your brain get organized and prevent Melt-downs of EPIC Proportions! 

I had a breakdown of EPIC proportions the other day. Poor Alex has been amazing with all of my emotions but I can so see why he isn’t putting a ring on it (joking).  My anxiety was at the highest it’s been in years, I was sobbing my eyes out, snotting everywhere (sick!) and was paralyzed wondering how all of this was going to work out. So I decided that me having a panic attack wasn’t going to solve anything and with Alex’s encouragement I sat down and wrote not just one but like 4-5 “nap justifying” lists (To-Do Lists if you’re totally lost).

Categorize your lists!

I started by categorizing my lists. “Nursing school” to-do, “Income”to-do, “House” to do etc. I found that by breaking my lists up it seemed so much less overwhelming. I’m  a “big picture” person. I see what the end goal is and get overwhelmed by the 5 billion baby steps you have to take to get there. Now these are overall to-do lists- I made them to map out what needs to be done and hung them up in a place I frequent but not sitting in plain sight so I don’t get overwhelmed.


Suggestions for making the most out of your To-Do Lists

Starting your list:

Coffee in hand- with some time to relax while making your list, pretty paper if so desired, pretty pens, and a positive attitude- or type it up- whatever tickles your fancy.


I created a printable for free (keep reading to find it- let play where’s waldo!). If you don’t like it, don’t worry! I didn’t put that much effort into it. My feelings won’t be hurt. Amazon has some really fun “plan of attack” list pads already made for your convenience. I actually have a meal planning one and love it. They are less than $7. (Click the image to shop this item!- Affiliate link)

Suggestion 1: Put things on your list you are about to do/ have already done

Sounds goofy, but you would be surprised at how motivated you become when you get to cross off 5 things from your to-do list and you have only been awake less than an hour. It makes you feel like you are already on your way to having the most productive day of your life. It helps me fo sho!

Example: get out of bed, drink coffee, enjoy some “you” time on the porch watching chickens, change from pjs- to stretchy pants, make bed, brush teeth.. the list of easy every day accomplishments are ENDLESS.

There are things we do daily! Is there a good reason not to write them down as part of a “To-Do” List? The world would be a much better place if “being caffeinated” was on my to-do list.

While I’m drinking my coffee I can cross off getting out of bed and enjoy some “you” time.


Suggestion 2: Put your tennis shoes on (sneakers- whatever you call them).

Again, probably sounds weird to you but when I have my tennis shoes on, I’m less likely to plop on the couch and continue binge watching the office for the 10th time. I actually consider myself done when I take them off so I make myself put those shoes on and I’m way more productive.

Suggestion 3: Prioritize your list

This is where I pull in something from my other lists that I mentioned making earlier. I pick one of the steps I need to get done on one list or I pull a couple of things-whatever I feel like doing. It helps to shrink those big lists slowly and makes my anxiety stay surface level. Now I will pull in some info from that class I mentioned I took on goal setting in college (if you missed that post just click here). They told us to always put the stuff that has higher priority at the very top of our lists (hence why waking up and drinking coffee are at the top). If I had to guess it’s because you’re more motivated to get the stuff at the top of the list done and your coffee game is still strong.Image result for priorities meme

Suggestion 5: Put timed breaks throughout your list

True fact: When you run around like a chicken with your head cut off you become exhausted. If you know you need a break, plan it homie!  You can even plan a “social media break”! HOWEVER, put a TIMER on you breaks. Put that timer on your phone and when it goes off you need to clock back in. How easy is it to get those shoes off and hit the Netflix binge? Next thing you know, Netflix is asking you if you are still watching hours later and of course you’re still there. This is the same with social media. Don’t think I haven’t many a time fallen victim to getting on facebook and going down a rabbit hole stalking spree where the next thing you know you are looking at Karen’s ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s cute puppy and you don’t even know who Karen is to begin with. Image result for Karen meme

Take a break to prevent Burn-out! 

In order to make the most out of our productivity, we need to take brain breaks. Focus takes energy! Therefore, refill those energy tanks by giving your brain time to rest. Rest provides healing, repair, and restores energy.

Also, in my book, a timed break may be getting a pedicure or a new haircut (as I did most recently). The goal is endurance when you’re running a marathon (well that’s an assumption because who are we kidding, I don’t run marathons).

What are some things you can do that help give you energy or that rejuvenate your focus?

Welp, that’s all I got peeps!

Hopefully some of these suggestions were helpful or were at least entertaining; or maybe I’m part of your social media rabbit hole break! (not complaining)

Please comment below on any suggestions you want to add that make your to-do list more manageable because I need all the help I can get and I’m sure other readers would love to hear your input.

Again, if you hate my posts about organization because you love chaos and don’t need help being a total bad-A at life then great for you (golf clap)! Please share on how you figured it out. Also go visit my other pages since you don’t need this one! Maybe you’ll like my chickens.

Also, if you like printables and want a free one- you’re in the right place! I created a very simple To-Do-list printable to help you map out your day.


Here is your To-Do list template. I went with a simple layout in case you wanted to print a bunch- colored ink is expensive AF.

Want to come back to this post at a later date! Awesome, I want you to as well! Save this post on your Pinterest to refer back to it!

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