5 Best To Do List Tips. (Try this) | Vanessa Loder | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. To Do List - Overview

    • 2. Why A Brain Dump Will Help You Relieve Stress

    • 3. Be Ruthless - How To Limit Your To Do List

    • 4. Your Energetic and Emotional Priorities

    • 5. Reward Yourself

    • 6. Class Project: Daily Planning Guide

    • 7. *BONUS GIFT* New for 2019!

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About This Class


We've all been there...you have a lot to get done, and yet never seem to be able to accomplish it all.

You struggle to check everything off your To Do list, and end up feeling bad when you can't get it all done.

The never-ending To Do List is a drag.

And you wish someone (maybe even this dog??) could just take care of it all for you. 

While this class can't send a canine to your home to finish all your chores...it can teach you a completely different approach to creating and managing your To Do list.

In this course you'll learn a new system to increase productivity and leave you feeling good about your accomplishments each day, rather than struggling to get it all done. This system is based on the experience of successful Fortune 500 CEOs, and it'll give you a leading edge as a creative entrepreneur. 

You'll be learning new tools including:

- How to do a "brain dump" to quiet the incessant To Do list in your mind

- What the most successful leaders do each night to prioritize

- Research-backed process to increase willpower and achieve your goals

- How to identify and clear your energetic and emotional To Dos

- The most important question you should ask yourself every day

The tools you'll be learning in this course are simple, easy to put into practice, and will give you immediate results. (YAY!)

See you in class!


P.S.: Check out my other top-rated course on Skillshare and learn more productivity skills to create success with ease!

3x Your Productivity with this Weekly Planning Guide

P.P.S. If you complete this To Do List Course before April 15th, you could win a 1 Year Skillshare Premium Membership (value $99) or one of 2 FREE spots in my upcoming Create Work You Love career program (value $1,497).

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Vanessa Loder

Women's Leadership & Mindfulness Expert.


Hi, I'm Vanessa - I'm so glad you're here!

I'm a women’s leadership and mindfulness expert, keynote speaker and energetic sparkplug committed to helping you expand what’s possible for your life.

Here's a free 30 Day Meditation Challenge to get you started - Join Today!

My work has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, the Huffington Post and Glamour Magazine. You can learn more by watching the Tedx talk “How To Lean In Without Burning Out” below. 

**If you liked the Weekly Planning Guide, get the full Soul Planner HERE

My Story:

After working on Wall Street, I got a Stanford MBA and was a successful investor in Silicon Valley. I climbed to the top of the ladder, only to realize…crap! Wrong... See full profile

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1. To Do List - Overview: Hi there. I'm Vanessa Loader, a women's leadership expert, speaker, writer and the founder of vanessa lotr dot com. And today I'm gonna be teaching you how to create an effective to do list. Many people use their to do list ineffectively. You know, the number one mistake that I see people make with their to do list is we put way too much stuff on it. You put way too much stuff on your to do list, and then you use it as a way to beat yourself up. I have been guilty of this so many times myself where I put too many things on my to do list, and then I feel overwhelmed, and I also feel like I'm never gonna get it all done, and I'm stranded Klay trying to get it all done. I'm never good enough, and it's this cycle that ends up feeling really bad. So how would you like to feel good about your to do list instead? You know, when I wrote for Forbes many years ago, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs and entrepreneurs, and many of them underneath it all had the exact same secret to their success. They attributed it to the way that they used their to do list. When I learned this secret, I was like, Oh, that's all I have to do That's not that hard. So that's it. I'm gonna be teaching you today how you can create an effective to do list so you could be even more successful. 2. Why A Brain Dump Will Help You Relieve Stress: so I want to talk about the difference between a brain dump and a to do list. As I mentioned in the intro, the number one mistake that I often see people make with their to do list is they put way too many things on it, and then you could never get it all done. And then you feel bad about yourself. So instead, what you're gonna learn is how to limit your to do list to your top three things, and we're gonna be talking about that in a moment. And so many people that I've worked within coached top performing leaders and executives have often told me. But Vanessa, I can't limit it to three things. There's so much going on in my mind, I have to write it down or I'll forget it. There's so much that I have to dio if you feel that way. What I recommend is that you do something called a brain dump. What a brain dump is is it's you getting everything out of your head and onto a piece of paper, so all you do is you get out a piece of paper and a pen and you write down every single thing you can think of that you have to do. And you can dio professional life and personal life everything from, you know, pick up the dry cleaning or hire someone to clean the carpet or, you know, fix the heat, the HB or whatever the h back. Whatever problems you have going on in your house or personal life, you can put that on it. You can put work stuff on it. I just want to get it all out of your head and onto a piece of paper. And then you're gonna take that brain dump and you're gonna put it aside because that is not your to do list. Your to do list is something else entirely. The brain dump is to help you free yourself from the mental energy of trying to remember all the things you have to dio. But when you do a brain dump, the difference is you're not going to then hold yourself accountable to completing all of the things from your brain dump in a given day or given week, because that's what's gonna put you into over Well, so what it is is it's like an energetic and psychic release to just write it all down psychological release and then set it aside, Put it in a drawer. So go ahead and do a brain dump. Now, just to get everything out of your head onto a piece of paper, and then we're gonna talk about how toe limit and create an effective to do list. 3. Be Ruthless - How To Limit Your To Do List: but the next step is to limit your to do list. Do you actually want to be ruthless about prioritizing? And you want to limit your to do list to no more than three things in a given day? So when I worked for forms when I wrote for four was many years ago, I interviewed all of these successful CEOs and entrepreneurs and that hands down the number . One thing they kept talking about was how they would only have three priorities each day or three things that they would put on their to do list. At first I thought, That's crazy. How do you only have three things on your to do list? I have, like, 50 things I need to get done every day and they said, Yes, Vanessa. But that's often other people coming at you for requests, or it's all these little things you really shouldn't have. More than three priorities in a single day is the advice that I was given because that is how you can focus and get the most important things done first. So what you want to do and this is gonna be your class project is toe list out your top three priorities for each day of the week and do that in advance. I recommend doing it before the week begins. If you want more help on how to schedule out your whole week, you can check out my weekly planning Guide video. It's a way to make yourself three times more productive, so definitely watch that if you want to learn ah, whole weekly planning process. But what you want to do for your to do list is you want to limit it to three three things for each day. So you've done your brain dump. You've gotten all that stuff out of the way onto a piece of paper and then you're gonna ask yourself, No, what would move my business in my career forward the most? You're gonna prioritize three things each day, and I also recommend that you tackle the biggest thing, the number one thing first thing in the morning because research shows that is when your willpower is going to be the strongest. So that will be Your class project is to step back and think high level, like what's going to move my business or career forward the most, and list out your top three priorities for each day of the week, and then that will be your new refocus to do list. 4. Your Energetic and Emotional Priorities: The next thing I want to talk about when it comes to creating effective to do list is energetic or emotional priorities. So when I first began coaching high performing leaders on how to create an effective to do list many years ago, I noticed this pattern happening with them. That was also happening with me, which was that they could think of their top priorities. But then, sometimes there would be something that was bothering them that was on the brain dump list . It was never going to be a top three priority, but it kept showing up, and it kept kind of just niggling them in the back of their mind. So the example I'll give is for me. A couple of years ago, my husband I had this stain on our carpet in our bedroom, and it really bugged me, and I kept meaning to hire somebody to come clean the carpet. But that was never a top three priority, because let's be honest for me, it's like when was that going to be a top three priority? If I'm asking him what's going to move my business and career forward the most, well, it's not gonna be cleaning the carpet in my bedroom, right? And a lot of having an effective to do list is letting go of all that other stuff and really being focused on your top three priorities and being willing to not clean the carpet in the master bedroom. But here's the catch. Over time, clean the carpet in the master bedroom might build up emotionally and psychologically, energetically so much that it's really bothering me and it's taking up. Mindshare is taking up real estate in my mind because I'm thinking about it. I'm annoyed about it several times during the day. I'm reminded of it for some random reason, something I still need to research. You know, carpet cleaners. I still need to Oh, I haven't get done, I check Yelp. So what I have found is that often we each have these energetic or emotional priorities, which are things that are not necessarily going to move your business or your career forward the most. But it's something that's been draining you that you've been avoiding and that you've been thinking about a lot. So it's taking up mental real estate in your mind, and when you take it off your plate, you're actually gonna feel really good and you're going to get some energy back that's been slowly draining out of you every time you think of that annoying task. So we all have one or two of these Harry projects that we have not wanted to deal with, you know, for me often to like bookkeeping or coming like taxis and coming around it can be this thing where you're like, I don't want to do that and we avoid it. And yet we think about it a lot, and it drains us energetically. So what I invite you to do is to think of one kind of annoying task or something that's not going to move your career or your business forward the most. But it's been mentally distracting you or draining you, and I recommend doing getting one of those done every week. Okay, so each week on your to do list of your top three things, you're going to do three things each day of the week. At least one thing on one day should be one of your emotional or energetic two DUIs. So, for example, for me right now, I have been trying to have a call with my bookkeeper's assistant to get her some log in information for my bank accounts, and they the bank changed like the log in processes. Every time we've tried, it hasn't worked. And anyway, it's this annoying thing that I've thought it. I think about a lot about how I need to do it. So that's gonna be That would be an example of one of the energetic or emotional two DUIs. I might actually make it a top three priority this week because it's gotten to the point where it's bothering me so much it needs to get done. Cleaning out your office or your email inbox could be another example of an emotional or an energetic to dio. You know that's so big for me when I have time to chunk it down and take, you know, clear out my inbox. I feel so much better about myself and especially my physical office space. When I clean that out, I don't know about you, but I often will have stacks of papers that pile up that are low priority. And then it gets to a point where it's a high priority, cause there's so much of it. And so then I'll set aside, you know, a couple hours and really knock it out. So I invite you to think about what is your version of that? What is your energetic or emotional priority for the next week? So what's the thing that's the most training to you that you want to just clear up? Ah, and create some space around in the next week? So think of that and list that out now. 5. Reward Yourself: so the next up to creating an effective to do list is to reward yourself after you're done completing it. So you want to build in self care or a reward once you complete your to do list each and every single day. This is actually going to reinforce positive behavior and improve willpower. You know, research has shown that if you give yourself a reward at the end of some activity that has involved willpower, it creates this sort of like positive circuit in your brain or your brain. Now associates getting that stuff done with a reward. Yeah, so treat yourself. Maybe go buy yourself some flowers or schedule some fun time for the weekend. Be proactive about what brings you joy and build that into your to do list what I recommend . And if you want more information on this again, you can watch the class on the weekly planning guide how to three extra productivity because I talk about this more. But what I recommend is that on the weekend you also have a to do list, but it's more like to play to play list. So it's some self care activities or some me time to do so You ask yourself, Mm, what's going to recharge my battery than most? And then you actually make that your to do or you're to play list on the weekend. So for Saturday and Sunday, just depending on your schedule if you have one or two days off, whether that's the weekend or some other days, then on those days you build an even bigger rewards. You might do ah longer activity like oh, for a long hike or take a bath or meet a friend for coffee. Do something to reward yourself at the end of the week, and I also recommend building in many rewards each day. So every day when you finish those top three priorities, do something small to reward yourself. Uh, and again that could be a really small thing. But in yourself, flowers Or, you know, calling a friend just taking a little break throughout the day to enjoy yourself in some way 6. Class Project: Daily Planning Guide: Let's talk about your class project so your class project is gonna be toe list out your top three to dues for each day of the week. And I have this handy daily planning guide. It's actually part of an annual planning guy that I've created in collaboration with one of my clients and dear friend Suzanne Miller. This is like we're still printing the books, but this is the early version of it. If you're interested up, I'll post some information. It's gonna have monthly, quarterly and annual goal setting, envisioning and planning all in one book. So it's sort of part journaling and part planning tool, and this is from that. So this is your class project. It's gonna be a daily planning guide for your to do list. So each day Monday through Saturday, you're gonna list your top three priorities. So what are your top three to do is for each day, and I also have the following question here. What would make today Great. That can just be a really lovely question to ask yourself in the morning when you first wake up what would make today great, and that's not your to do list it's just something for you to reflect on. This also includes an evening reflection. So at night you think of you list three things that you're grateful for that happened today . So this creates more of a ritual around the to do list to make it a little more heart centered in a little more fun. And again on Saturday and Sunday, As it says in the hand out, you're going to schedule some me time and think, Ask yourself what will recharge my battery than most? And then you'll write that out. So it could be some self care getting a massage, calling a friend and it's fun to see other people's because then you could go. Oh, that's a good idea. I want to do that. You know, Maybe all. I'm gonna do that for my recharge activity on Sunday. So you're gonna want to fill this out and then upload it to the class Project page, and I can't wait to see what you come up with and what you list 7. *BONUS GIFT* New for 2019!: to help you quiet your mind and improve focus. I'm so excited to offer this new special bonus. You conjoined are free 30 day meditation challenge and you'll get a short five minute guided meditation every day for 30 days. Simply go to www dot vanessa loader v a N E S s a L o d e r dot com backslash 30 dash day and you can sign up to receive a free meditation every day for 30 days. So go ahead and type in that you are l or click that link now and come join me on this wonderful, exciting, 30 day journey to a more peaceful, more joyful and more focused and creative life. I hope to see you there. Thanks so much.