How to Make a Badass To-do List

How to Make a Badass To-do List

By Malia Warren

Ever feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do? Maybe it’s over the course of a day or a week but when the things pile up it’s seemingly impossible to figure out where to start.

It’s so easy to get lost with today’s fast-paced, get it now society. Often when we’re busy, making time for the gym can sometimes fall last on our priority list. Spoiler alert: making time for wellness and health should always come first.

When I found out October 30th is National Checklist Day, I thought it would be a great way to highlight my favorite way to keep track of everything as a business owner, weightlifter, and mom!

Whether you use them for work or just in daily life so you can survive without pulling your hair out (#canigetanamen), checklists can be so valuable.

Only after meeting my commitments for health and wellness (ie: the gym, meditation, whatever) can move to my to-do list. Does it always work like this? No way. If I’m especially overwhelmed with work, I will miss the gym sesh for my mental wellness.

I mix mine together with personal and business but feel free to split them up if it drives you less crazy. Here’s how I create my list:

  1. Brain dump: This is my FAVORITE part. We used to do this in college with class projects. Literally, dump everything on your mind that needs to be done and bullet list it by each task. Putting everything, and I mean everything, down on the list is so satisfying and helps with that gross overwhelmed feeling.
  2. Prioritize money-making activities: Will this task ultimately result in generating money for your business or does it have a deadline that can cost you money if you don’t make it on time? This is rule #1 for business owners, but if you are prioritizing home tasks, this can work too!
  3. Separate remaining priorities: the rest of your tasks are likely either a crucial priority or a non-crucial. A crucial priority would one that has a deadline, but maybe it’s not necessarily due today. A non-crucial activity would be one that has no consequences if it’s pushed off until tomorrow or one that doesn’t have a deadline.
  4. Get Focused: Turn your cell phone to “Do Not Disturb” mode and get in the right mindset to tackle each priority. Is it a certain music playlist that keeps you moving? Or complete silence? Movies or music in the background keep me centered, but for some it might be too much.
  5. Knock them out: Many expert studies show that humans think in 90 minute cycles. That being said, set aside 90 minutes to tackle tasks one at a time. No need to multi-task unless you can effortlessly do so. For example: Waiting for laundry to finish while answering emails. The goal is to knock them out one by one, check off each little happy box as you complete them.

I LOVE the Notes app that comes standard with iPhones because of the ability to check off things as you go and it syncs with my laptop, but really, any list making application or even emailing yourself will work.

Oftentimes, if I have a to-do list made, I feel like I can make time for the gym and give my all to the session. If my mind is bogged down with everything I have to do, my workout often suffers.

So how does this apply to working out?

Approach your workout like a to-do list:

1. Write everything down you want/need to accomplish in the session: If you do CrossFit or weightlifting, your workout is likely programmed and visually presented to you. If you attend a group fitness class, your instructor has it written down for you and will guide you through each step. If you prefer to workout on your own, write down your workout (ie: warm up, stretch, 20 min of sprints on the treadmill, arm day workouts, etc.) either in your phone or in a journal. Ideally, this is one less thing you have to worry about when you get to the gym and you can focus!

2. Laser Focus: As mentioned in the previous list, focusing on the task at hand is so vital to success in completing it. Keep your phone in your gym bag, fill your water bottle and go to the bathroom before working out. Go in with the mindset that you are going to complete the whole workout as prescribed (RX in CrossFit world) or you’re going to modify portions of it to move more efficiently.

3. Don’t stop, get it, get it: Most workouts make up 4-8% of your day. Go in, put in the work and know that when you’re done, you’ve just knocked off one more thing from your list. There will be no “should I workout today?” or “darn, I should’ve worked out today” thoughts to mess with tackling your to-do list.

Plus, when you get to make your workout, you get to see your friends! Working out with friends is one of the most fun things on this planet. Friends = smiling and smiling = less stress.

After all, your workout buddies are your real besties (See our Blog Post)!

Checklists, to-do lists, whatever you want to call them, can be used for anything from small projects to every day tasks to keep you on track.

Moral of the Story: Friends and Checklists can make you happy!


If you have any questions or you would like to be a guest blogger, please email us at


Do you use checklists daily? How do they help you with day-to-day activities?

Woman lifting a barbell

Malia is the force behind Lifting the Dream and a proud mompreneur. When she's not lifting heavy weights, she's probably at the beach or Disney with her family. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside in Florida soaking up the sun, heat, and all the amazing outdoor activities this state has to offer.




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