A to-do list that makes you happy

To be fair, we love a good to-do list. A to-do list helps us understanding what tasks are outstanding, what we want to do in a day and helps prioritising those tasks. Similar to our thoughts and moods, we should write down the tasks for the day, to keep our brainspace for thinking instead of storage!

Work-related or personal, a to-do list helps us getting stuff done, getting it out of our mind and into action. However, as we are the creators of our own to-do lists we might be too ambitious or overly optimistic what can be done in a day. So this to-do list becomes a burden not a helpful tool. We suggest to organize and mostly declutter your to-do list!

Organize your to-do list

How do you manage your to-do list? Do you have a physical list, a digital list, your calendar? However you manage the things you want to get done, they need to be broken down to daily tasks in some way. If you don’t know what to do in a day, you will stress about the tasks of tomorrow, so create small tasks for yourself that are doable.

Try to put time-frames on

It’s useful to use your digital calendar to put your to-do’s in, as you can easily re-shuffle items and also give time-frames for your to-do’s. Be quite generous with the time you allocate to every task, as most of us tend to be on the optimistic side, only to be upset that we didn’t get enough done. However, try to be realistic and feel free to challenge yourself if that feels right. Some people like to fully book their days (including a slot for lunch, a coffee break and dedicated time for e.g. personal emails or texts), this is a matter of personal choice. Also, not everybody can focus on the same topic for a long time. Give yourself very small tasks to do at different times of the day to get a big lump done.


The importance of tasks changes so if a deadline comes up, go through those to-do’s and re-organize them by importance. A recommendation: leave everything on that takes two minutes or under, but no more than 5 of those.

Be (reasonably) specific

Unspecific to-do’s might be unhelpful when it comes to getting those done. You might not remember what you meant and then have to find ways to remind yourself. Instead of: “do some exercise” put: “go for a 20 minute run”. Or instead of, “pay bills”, “pay bills to Anne, Brandon and Carol”, you get the idea.


Lose some tasks – forever!

Strike stuff through! Cancel, delete, however you want to call it. Just get rid of some stuff. Most of us don’t have enough resources to get all the things done we are intending to do and some have to go. Deep down, you know the things that don’t make or break your day. The task, that if you don't do it, won't cost you a good nights sleep. Like "getting a nicer picture for the drivers license". We all want a nicer picture. It will only marginally be better. You can still drive your car.

Let go of that thing. Taking something un-necessary off your to-do list can be a big relief and frees up time for the fun stuff!