‘Through my Eyes’ column: The power of the list

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Elizabeth Haller, B&W Staff

Elizabeth Haller, B&W Staff

When something starts, we generally do not know how it will end. The walk to class becomes your normal routine, the people in the organizations that you belong to become your family and the endless hours of studying pay off the moment you turn in your final piece of work for the semester. For the majority of college students, stepping onto campus for the first time can be a scary thing. The fear of not knowing what was going to happen was probably the worst fear in the world for some people. For me, having a plan has always helped, and every good plan comes with a list. A to-do list of things you hope to accomplish, or a list of work that needs to get done.

According to Forbes.com, there is a right way and a wrong way to make a to-do list. The biggest mistake people make when making a list is the quality of the list versus the quantity of the list. Many people believe that if they get everything on their list done within an appropriate time limit, they did a good job and therefore have a feeling of accomplishment. But sometimes, a list can contain menial chores at the top and harder tasks at the bottom. Who would have thought that there is a right way and a wrong way to organize a to-do list? Forbes’s suggestion is to find a way to eliminate many of the little tasks by combining them. When that happens, a person will feel more accomplished and will ultimately become more successful over time when it comes to completing tasks.

Another mistake people make is using the list as a form of torture. When people create a long list of endless tasks to do, at some point, it is possible to become stressed. The energy someone initially had to complete the tasks becomes depleted. The No. 1 thing to remember is to focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about what tasks you have to accomplish. By doing this, the probability is higher that the tasks will get done, and you will be more productive when completing the tasks.

There really is no secret to creating and accomplishing a successful to-do list. These steps are easy to follow and will increase your productivity. The first step to creating a to-do list is to keep it simple. Forbes suggests having no more than three things on the list. In reality, college students usually have more than three things to do, and all the endless tasks seem to have the same level of importance. A good suggestion might be to write everything down that you need to get done all at once. This is not your to-do list; this is just a “mind dump,” according to Forbes. The mind dump is something to do to clear your head of the things that need to get done. After you have written everything down, divide the items into separate lists. Then divide those lists into different days of the week. That way, you will not get overwhelmed by the amount of work you must do. One thing to remember is to also create a schedule of when things are due in order to make your to-do include items in order of the highest priority level to the lowest.

The second step is to make your to-do list the night before you hope to complete it. This helps you have a clear mind when you wake up the following morning. By having your to-do list right in the morning, you already know what items need to be completed by the end of the day, or by a certain time. Then you can spend your time getting the tasks done instead of wasting time and energy of thinking about what tasks need to be completed.

So you’ve created your list. Now what? The first thing you should do in the morning is to tackle the first item on your list. The morning is the time of the day when you are the most fresh, so having a harder task at the top of your list is a benefit not only to you, but also to the item that you need to accomplish.

As students, we are sometimes pushed to our breaking point with a staggering amount of coursework and extracurricular activities, but what you get out of your college experience is what you put into it. By starting out with an organized plan, it will not only eliminate stress, but will make your college experience more enjoyable.

And that is how I see creating and accomplishing a to-do list “Through My Eyes.”

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