The Power of a To-Do List

Fretting outside of work. We’ve all been guilty of it at least one time or another. As a young assistant public defender that passed the bar less than a year ago, I used to be guilty of it all the time. I’d finish up a day’s work, pack up my bag, go home, try to relax, and instead catch myself thinking about the cases set for the next day or the next Pre-Trial Conference that’s looming around the corner.

Lately, I’ve been trying something new. And it seems to be working. Going back to basics on keeping organized, I make To-Do lists. It seems simple enough but the critical part has been the timing of when I make them. Before leaving work every day, I will take a moment and jot down everything that needs to be done in the next few days on a legal pad. It takes very little time to do this and the results far outweigh the effort put into building the list.

Writing the to-do list is almost liberating. Upcoming tasks no longer crowd my mind when I finally go home and unwind. And for the first time in a while, I’m able to do just that… unwind.

In a job where we deal with people’s most stressful times of their lives while constantly fighting deadlines, we could all use a little time to clear one’s head and keep our minds sharp.

In a recent study, almost 70% of surveyed lawyers agree that their job is more stressful than other professions. (

Instead of letting the stress define who we are, we can promote our mental health by taking small steps every day to keep calm.

Leave a comment below and tell us how you combat your day-to-day stress!