Starting the new year in another lockdown has admittedly dampened that ‘fresh start’ feeling that January usually brings after the festive break. As a professional procrastinator I wanted to share my top reasons why I think to-do lists are important and as a stationery designer how our wonderful notepads can help make life easier, and your desk prettier.
I mean, if you take nothing else from this waffle, just know that our to-do lists are made with the most beautifully smooth paper, that even the most temperamental ballpoint will gleefully glide along with gusto. ‘The pure joy to write on’ paper quality is not to be missed particularly when scrawling such tasks as ‘buy more toilet roll’ or ‘submit tax return’.
There’s no denying we’ve got a lot going on at the moment whether it’s home schooling, yet another zoom meeting or just trying to stay on top of day-to-day tasks. It’s a lot.
1. A to-do list adds structure to the day
I rarely know what day it is so staying focussed and achieving anything right now is easier said than done. There’s a lot of pressure to achieve great things during lockdown and it’s amazing if you’ve used this time to find a new hobby or re decorate your entire home but it’s also ok to just survive and get through each day as it comes.
The long days at home with no real plans for the foreseeable, have left me feeling lost at times. As obvious as it sounds, making to-do lists has been a positive way for me to add some structure to the day and helps me to feel like I’m making progress, no matter how small, in the right direction.
2. A list can calm anxiety
Physically writing everything that’s whizzing around your head down onto paper is a brilliantly simple way to organise that chaos.
A mini notepad, like our monstera to do list is perfect for popping on your bedside table to quickly jot down the next day’s most pressing jobs. Writing a quick list before bed really calms an anxious mind for a better night’s sleep too.
The smaller notepad size is ideal for a more manageable list of 6-8 jobs that is easier to tackle within a single day. Short, doable lists will give you a greater sense of achievement without feeling overwhelmed and relieve some unwanted stress at the same time.
3. The sense of achievement feels good
There is something so wonderfully satisfying about physically crossing out those nagging jobs. I might be on my own, but I always include a really easy or nearly completed job at the top of my list just so that I can tick it off almost immediately for a quick boost of motivation early doors!
Whether it’s tackling the housework, meal planning, or juggling the day job around entertaining the kids, the humble to-do list is your trusty friend.
4. To-do lists can keep you focussed
In lockdown, days can easily blur into one another and the pressure to do everything and do it well can be overwhelming. This is usually around the time I start procrastinating. I’ll do anything to put off a boring task or one that I’m worried is going to be too difficult. The next thing you know I’m sat watching videos of Kevin Bacon singing to his goats instead of doing my accounts!
A simple to-do list of small, achievable jobs can help to keep you on track and if the notepad looks beautiful on your desk or kitchen counter at the same time… even better!
5. It’s a way to set manageable goals
Breaking the day down into small tasks can turn a pretty daunting schedule into manageable goals. Then dividing those jobs into ones that are urgent and ones that aren’t, is the stuff of to-do list making legends.
I created our peony notepad as a simple, easy to use organiser that helps with time management and to tackle the day more efficiently. By splitting tasks into ‘need to do’ and ‘nice to do’ lists you are more likely to achieve realistic goals. I am guilty of piling too many things onto my plate and almost immediately feeling crushed by a huge mountain to climb. It’s better to prioritise what is actually important or most urgent and if you’re suddenly pushed for time or plans change, the ‘nice to do’ list can be put on hold for another day.
So, there you have it, my tiptop reasons why to-do lists are important, especially while times are extra challenging.
Making lists is a small but mighty tool for adding structure to your day, keeping you focussed and creating achievable goals. The simple act of writing down all those jobs can defuse the chaos we often try to juggle in our heads.
"If the chaos is overwhelming, I start making lists. To write it down puts it in perspective." Renee Lawless
As a list lover and a stationery designer it’s essential that our notepads are functional while maximising the benefits of to-do list making, particularly when it comes to relieving stress. And for fellow stationery lovers, I can vouch that the pencil sketch designs of both of our notepads are brilliant for colouring in or in my case scribbling weird doodles around, while on the phone too.
So, go on, treat yourself to some new stationery, get all those niggling tasks down on paper and feel more organised this year with helpful, time saving to-do lists!