If you have been here before then you have almost certainly heard me talking about the importance of making to-do lists. I swear by making lists and the importance of being able to see everything you need to accomplish in a certain time frame. Seeing it allows you to make plans and be logical and efficient to actually ACCOMPLISH everything on your list.
Remember- being organized is only half of the battle!
For my daily to-do lists it depends on what my day looks like if I use my phone or pen/paper but for my week I always write down my to-do lists on paper! I print off templates that I design myself and I am so excited to share this new favorite one with you!
Either click for the PDF below or click the image for a PNG and you can print this off at home or you can also write on top of it on your phone or computer if you prefer to keep your lists digital.
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(Click for PDF version!)
So if you are wondering what to actually DO with this template beyond what is obvious then keep reading! I am breaking down what I put on my weekly to-do list to keep me organized and on top of achieving my goals.
Step 1) Write Need Items
When determining what does on the list focus on what you need to do first (I call them by the very obvious name of “need items”, creative I know). These are anything of high priority beyond the basics. For me this week my first need to do was definitely laundry so it was the very first thing on my list.
Don’t overwrite on the list though- anything that you always do every day like doesn’t belong on a to-do list that is what hourly planners are for! The basics are “make the bed” and “eat dinner” so don’t waste time on things like that and more importantly don’t waste your efforts in writing those things down in 3 places.
If you don’t have an hourly planner then I recommend this one:
Step 2) Write Goal Items
Next step is to think about what your goals are for the week that will help you achieve your long term goals. These are equally creatively named but goal items tend to be the more exciting but less “necessary” items you should accomplish each week.
Side note- if you don’t already have some long term goals thought out then I would recommend working on that asap
Think about what you could do this week that would get you one step closer to achieving those goals and then put those on the list.
Step 3) Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize!
Look over your list and make sure it is prioritized. Having reach goals on top and logistical needs on the bottom just leads to a chaotic and useless list.
Prioritizing is arguably the #1 way to ensure that you have a successful week. If you are working towards a fitness goal and it’s what you really want to accomplish in the next year then spending time working on a side-project is not going to get you to your fitness goal. Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day so know how you want to use your time and how to prioritize it to achieve your goals.
Step 4) Take Action
Action doesn’t just mean actually doing the items it also mean actively using the list. Cross things off as you finish them, re-prioritize, and add items as the week goes on. My list gets messier and messier as the week goes on and that is PERFECTLY OKAY. Staying involved with your list ensures that you stay on top of your goals and also that you don’t end up forgetting important things.
On a similar note- make sure you keep the list somewhere you will see it daily. This is the same if the list is on your phone. If you don’t regularly go into your notes app then make it your screen saver. If you prefer to write the list on pen and paper then use a magnet and put it on your fridge or put it over your night stand (cork boards are great for this so you don’t ruin the wall with tacks or tape!).
Step 5) Improve Each Week
The last important step is to make sure that you learn from your to-do list the week before so you can constantly improve your time management and productivity.
A lot of this is pretty simple but can seriously help you make the most of your days. If you put way too much on your list one week then you will know for the next week to be more realistic. If you completed everything half way through the week then you will know that you need to add more. It can take a little while to really figure out what works for you but it’s worth it to get yourself organized and take control of your time!
Part of what I love about using pen and paper for these is you can easily save them all and compare so you can improve but also so you can see your progress. As your goals progress you can go back and look at week 1 to-do list and see how far you have come. I keep all mine in a little cute binder for this reason.
(Here is my favorite cute binder but Target also has lots that I would recommend checking out too!)
Want more advice on to-do lists? Well I have a whole guide for you on daily to-do lists too: How to Make an “Every Day Goals” List !