I have an obsession with To Do Lists. Do you? There is something about writing my tasks down and then crossing them off that makes me feel happy inside…and productive. Whenever life starts to get a little overwhelming I turn to my lists—and suddenly all is right in the world. Or at least more manageable.
Many list makers start off well intentioned but lose their way because they simply keep too many lists. In addition to keeping too many separate lists many would-be-list-makers will write notes on anything they see around—a receipt, back of an envelope, etc. If you haven’t already noticed, this isn’t very effective.
4 tips for effective list making:
Create a Master List
I keep a spiral binder with a list of everything that pops into my head that I feel I need to do as well as projects I would like to do. Instead of keeping multiple lists in multiple formats get in the habit of keeping one—even if you choose to keep it electronically.
Write a Daily To Do List
My daily to do list has the 3 things that I need to accomplish today, my appointments (preferably 2 but no more than 3 in a day) and my Morning, afternoon and evening checklist of things I need to do to stay on top of things! Some of you may be thinking, “I need to get more things done than just 3 per day” and while that my be right, I’d like you to try my way. Most people tackle many items in a day but not the most important ones. By limiting your list to three top things, you are guaranteed that the tasks you do complete will have the most impact on your day.
How many times have you ran around like crazy all day and still felt like you didn’t get anything done? When you choose quantity tasks you often sacrifice quality tasks. Each day choose the 3 things on your list that will have the most impact on your day/week/month or life, list them in the order of importance, and tackle them in that order. I promise you’ll see a significant improvement in your overall productivity.
Create Daily Routines
Your daily routines should be customized to you and they should be things that will make things easier for you in the long run.
Here are some examples of what I include in my daily routine:
- Print out my calendar (Outlook) for the next day
- Print out a To Do page and fill it out
- Clean up my office & put away papers
- Organize the materials that I need for homeschooling the next day
- Pick up the clutter in the kitchen, family room & entry (these are my hot spots)
- Cross items I completed off my Master To Do List (I cross them off as I go on my daily one)
- Make breakfast
- Lay out the children’s clothes so they can get dressed after breakfast
- Get myself showered and dressed for the day
- Read my calendar & To do list and remind everyone what the plan is for the day
- Check email
- Return phone calls
- Errands (some may choose to do this only on a certain day)
- Prep dinner
Assign day to regular weekly tasks/errands
Some people like to assign certain tasks to certain days. You may do laundry on certain days, fill your car with gas, menu plan, clean out your fridge, go grocery shopping, run errands, get your hair/nails done, work out, go to the library etc.
If you use an iPhone you’ll be excited to know that there is an app to help you with your daily routines called, Home Routines. I love this app and like how you can easily customize it. If you are a fan of the Fly Lady cleaning system you will like that many of her cleaning routines are already preloaded. But don’t worry, you can edit or delete that if you wish.