The Best To-Do List of My Life

I like to keep my physical environment organized. I have this idea that if my physical environment is tidy, I will feel calm.

Unfortunately, I don’t always achieve the peace that I crave because I am too stressed about other things to enjoy even the most tranquil space.

David Allen’s TED Talk “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” was the medicine that I needed. I realized that I need to organize myself mentally, too. Allen’s principles for organizing mental space are simple:

  1. Write everything down.
  2. Put it on a project list if you can’t do it immediately.
  3. Plan and schedule projects step-by-step.

This was the advice I needed to hear. I started immediately with a blank note in Evernote and I typed up every single thing I had on my mind. I already use Evernote to make packing and grocery lists, but this was the first time I used it to make a comprehensive to-do list for my life.

Just that first step, writing everything down, everything!, was immediate relief – I know how to do those things! I can do some of them right now! I finished a half-dozen chores around my apartment within ten minutes.

After that, I organized the remaining tasks with simple headers: Today, Tomorrow, Weekend, Next Week and so on. I already use Google Calendar to keep track of planned events, but Evernote is simpler and more flexible than Google Calendar for making lists. See?

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I have also downloaded the Evernote app on my mobile devices, so I can review and update my list anywhere.

It has been two days and I am hooked. I am more organized and less stressed. I have been able to immediately put my free time to good use because I have a plan. I am free from remembering everything because it is all written down. And now I can fully enjoy my organized apartment because I am organized inside, too. Ahh.

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