Why You Should Always Have a To-do List

By Eseohe Ebhota & Prisca Ekokuje-Emadu

We all encounter days when there are a million things we want to do, but don’t know how to get them all done. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the massive workload that we must do daily.

Sometimes, because of our busy schedules, we tend to lose track of some loose ends and forget to do important things.

Then when we get too busy, we end up feeling like we are barely able to keep our heads above water. But then the questions we need to ask ourselves are: ‘Do I often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do, or do I find myself missing deadlines?’ To find answers to these questions, we spoke to some people whose responses are diverse and interesting.

Ike Charles, a hotel consultant in his early thirties, said he used to keep a to-do list before but found it difficult to stick to it. “It is too stressful to follow. So I just do whatever I can for the day so that I don’t end up overworking myself and then skipping some tasks that I should have done. But I think I’ll have to start keeping a to-do list again,” he stated.

“What do I need a to-do list for?” asked Kenny Yomi, an IT expert. “It is for lazy people as well as those who are not focused.”

Ifesinachi Abebe, a journalist in her late 20s, said: “I have to-do lists and these lists can either be short term, long term and sometimes on a daily basis. I have what I call a bucket list of what I would do throughout my lifetime with each having a deadline.”

She added: “When I have a lot of things to do in a day, before leaving for work, I itemise them in order of priority or in the order in which they can be achieved first. It has been very helpful to me because as a journalist who has to move from one event/place to another, it helps me manage my time and still meet up with deadline and achieve other goals.”

George Emmanuel, a banker in his early 30s, says the most important reason why he keeps a to-do list is because it helps in organising his tasks thereby making them more manageable. “Also, seeing a clear outline of my completed and uncompleted tasks often makes me feel organised and stay mentally focused. As I cross items off my to-do list, I usually feel a sense of progress and accomplishment that can be missed when rushing from one activity to the next. The affirmation that I am making progress motivates me to keep moving forward rather than feeling overwhelmed.”

He added: “Having a list of all my tasks also allows me to sit down and make a plan. My philosophy is 15 minutes spent planning could save an hour of execution time.”

The importance of to-do lists cannot be overemphasized, says Lago Rey in an article titled: ‘The Importance of making To-Do Lists.’ “Although for some people, it may seem a bit needless, putting things in writing helps in the pursuit of achievement. It forces the goal-setter to truly examine a task and to reflect on the steps that will yield a desired outcome. Write down what you want to achieve and outline the intermediate steps necessary to get you there,” he says.

“Making a to-do list is really easy. Just typing a note in your smartphone (or tablet or writing in a notebook) will suffice. Every morning when you awake, reread your list and do your thing,” Rey adds.

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