98% of me loves to-do lists. Two percent of me loathes them. Let me outline my loves and hates – in list form of course:
– They keep you organized.
– You can see everything you need to do with quick glance.
– You get to cross stuff off.
– I can write it and forget it – because I forget almost everything.
– Once it’s on my list, I feel a little weight lifted off my shoulders because I know it will get done. . . eventually.
– You can see everything you need to do with a quick glance.
– Sometimes my lists makes me hyperventilate.
The bonus of to-do lists is that they actually help you bring the “do” to fruition. That’s really the only point of them, right? But I find that if I go berserk on my list and write down everything that really needs to be done sans prioritizing, I have a list long enough replace my toilet paper for about 3 years. . . and I can’t breathe.
I have learned to embrace my to-do list and love it though – look forward to it even. I have found a formula that works.
If you care to stop hyperventilating, read on.
First of all, you really need several lists.
This seemed daunting at first, but it actually makes sense. I am not some list-making professional, so I can’t even pretend that I have it all figured out, and I am certainly not an A-type personality, so I can’t even claim that I’m an ultra-organized perfectionist, or that my house is spotless (or even “clean”), or that my kids never forget their homework. Things slip through the cracks sometimes.
What I am though, is a wife and a mother of four children. That totals six different schedules, homework lists, social lives, health needs, and a household to keep-a-tickin’.
So here’s what I’ve learned:
Whenever a “to-do” pops into your head, write it down. I finally have a notebook for all my lists, and a page for each type of chore. This is the master list.
Each night, before bed, make a list for the next day – a list that you think you truly can accomplish. I take three or four things from my master list and write them on my to-do list for the next day. I usually try to only give myself one errand a day – I have a toddler, it’s tough to go on an errand running binge.
Next is the real gold of the list. This is the part that’s going to help us live a calmer, more peaceful, richer life. It keeps you focused on the important stuff of life.
Think about what is truly important for you to include in your life. What is it? Do you want to spend more time with your kids? Do you want to read more? Do you need to block off time to pray, or exercise? Choose them – two things – and write them down.
This validates the importance of these things in our minds, and it forces us to actually do them. There is some crazy stat out there (that I am too lazy to look up) that says that we are something like 85% more likely to accomplish something if we write it down. So instead of losing your day to chores and phone calls and errands and falling into bed at night feeling frustrated or empty because you once again failed to build up the true meat of your life, you actually DO more of those things you always say you want to do.
Now, think about your day tomorrow and identify something you know you will do – without fail. Write that down too. Maybe two. This is purely for your satisfaction. It’s a mind game, but it will give you a mental boost, and remind you that you are being productive and that your day is not going to waste. You are actually doing things – like the dishes, the laundry, the floors. Remind yourself that you are not piddling the day away.
And dinner. Write down what you are having for dinner. This is half of the dinnertime battle. If you already know the night before, you can be prepared tomorrow – which is always a relief.
So this is what a sample list might look like:
take kids to the park
play board games with the family
And guess what? I even found this awesome resource for free printable lists!
Go forth and make your life better!