Ideally, when you open your planner or your to do list, you get lots accomplished. That's the purpose of writing things in your planner, right? To get them done!
But the reality is that most of us struggle with one of two issues: laziness or indecision. Here's the thing...I suspect that, for you, it's mostly indecision.
That's right! I don't think you are lazy. Oh, sure, you put your planner aside to watch Downton Abbey or you avoid opening it when you are wiped out from cooking dinner, but that's not lazy. That is called "enjoying downtime." :) You need that to recharge and refresh your body and your brain. That's why we have the Sabbath, vacations, sleep, and weekends. If anything, we don't have enough of the lazies. Humans need an ebb and flow to their lives. Embrace the lazies.
But embracing the lazies does mean, of course, that we need to get things done when accomplishment is what is on the agenda, so that we have enough time left to enjoy the lazies. And indecision, sadly, stops so many of us from doing just that.
Consider your task list.
Everyone's list looks different. Mine looks like this, complete with a main list and less important sub-lists and context codes.
But yours might be arranged in number order by priority, divided into a main list and an other list, have little asterisks in front of important tasks, divide up by context, be random, or be color-coded. These, of course, are only some of the many ways to write a task list.
None of those your style? Well, I was nice about the lazies before, but there is no excuse for not finding a style that works for you. That's right, not doing your work = NOT LAZY, but not finding your style = LAZY. Makes perfect sense, right?
You see, when you implement your style, whether it's my friend Julie's method of writing everything down and having a detailed, scheduled daily plan or my friend Michelle's simple Outlook list of deadlines, you make a decision about what to do first.
If you wait until you open your planner to decide what to do, unless you are some sort of superhuman who doesn't deserve weekends, you will be paralyzed by indecision. Doing something first will depend solely on your fickle mood, instead of a well-made decision.
So take a look at your task lists.
Are you a numbering sort? You prefer to write things in the order that they need to be accomplished in? Number things as you put them in your planner. (See the Monday block above.)
More visual? Group like items. Or write must do tasks crosswise over the lines so that you see and do them first and write less important tasks on the lines. (See the Tuesday block above.)
Star important stuff so that you know what MUST be done first. (See the Wednesday block...you can figure out the rest of this pattern without my help, right?).
Take special night of the Friday block - random. It's the only style that I really do NOT recommend. If you tend to write things down at random, you will have a harder time making a decision about what to do first. Instead, pick a style. Divide by where you will do the tasks, which task is most important, or even which task is due tomorrow. But pick a style, learn it, and use it - whatever it is.
After a week or two, if your tasks are still not getting done, reevaluate whether your style of planning is working for you. It should make your eyes happy and your hands productive!
P.S. A special shout out to my new friend Yez for the awesome supplies used in part to create this post!