Having an organized things to do list is a great tool to use in your quest to get organized! Whether you keep yours on paper, incorporate it into your family calendar, or use an app- there are 5 steps you should follow to manage your things to do list!
But let me start by saying- that things to do lists are both the best thing ever and the worst thing ever! They keep us organized and on top of all of the millions of things that we want to accomplish, but at the same time they can make us feel as if we have so much work ahead of us- that we’ll never get it all done.
And let’s be honest- WE WILL NEVER WILL GET IT ALL DONE! That’s right- most of us will leave this earth someday with stuff still on our things to do list! (Sigh… shake it off…. move on…)
So once we accept that it is always a work in progress- we can focus on managing our things to do list so that we can feel organized and intentional about how we spend our time.
1. Keeping a Things To Do List Allows You to “Write It Down and Forget About It”
At least until it needs to be done! But honestly, since most of us left a good portion of our brain cells behind when we entered this stage of life called “Mommyhood”, the practice of writing things down has become very important. We need a system that allows us to get it all down somewhere- on paper, on our calendar, in an app (but ideally on something better than the back of a napkin). So the first step in managing your to do list is to get it all out of your head and onto a list.
2. Create One Master To Do List
Keeping multiple lists in several notebooks or on post-it notes stuck to the walls and on your computer leaves you feeling scattered. I recommend making one long master to do list- one that covers everything you someday hope to accomplish. I suggest that you keep your list categorized by topic- to dos for around the home, to dos for your business, etc.
3. Prioritize the Items on Your Things to Do List
When you are staring down a list of 100+ things you’d like to accomplish, there should be an easy way to zero-in on what you need to work on today. A good things to do list should allow you to assign priorities to items.
I like to go through each item on my list and assign it a letter A thru C. A's are things that are super-important and that I truly need to get done soon. B's are things I would like to do, but my world won't fall apart if I don't get to them. And C's are “nice to do's” but generally remain on my to do list for a long time.
Of course you have to be able to easily re-prioritize things when you get that call from the school saying you need to come and pick up your child because he has a fever.
4. Assign 2-3 items from your master list to your daily or weekly schedule- but keep it realistic!
Pick one to three things each day or even each week that you can realistically accomplish. And assess how long it will take you to get it done. Don’t assign “Clean out the basement”, “Put last year's photos into a scrapbook” and “Dust the baseboards throughout the house” onto this week’s list simply because it consisted of just three things. It is the surest way to get none of this done since you’ve set yourself up for failure right from the get-go.
5. When assigning items to your weekly to-do list, break them down into manageable bites!
Re-painting our kitchen has been on my to-do list for a long time now. But to put that on this week's to do list only sets me up for failure. Instead I can break it down into manageable steps- select the paint colors, then buy the paint, then tape the trim, then paint one wall, etc. Over time (days or weeks) these bite-sized steps should lead me to achieving my larger goal.
Paper or App?
This is really a matter of personal preference- and to tell you the truth- at different times I find myself gravitating towards different systems. Right now I have my master to do list on paper and I incorporate my weekly to do list in my family calendar.
I have also used the To-do lists App (from the App Store) on my laptop which syncs nicely to my Apple calendar (as reminders), and also to my tablet and smartphone so that I can see my to do list everywhere I go. This is a good place to keep a master to do list as well as set up recurring weekly reminders- for things such as “water the plants” and “give the dog his monthly meds”- things that I honestly forget to do unless it is on my calendar!
But every day I still like to sit down and hand write a daily to do list of items to work through. And after I do each one, I get to cross them off. And wow- there's just something about that “crossing it off the list feeling” (please tell me that I am not the only one!)
I am obsessed with these lined post it notes that have little check boxes on them! Right now you can't get them in the US (say…. what?) but you can order them on ebay (they take a few weeks to arrive- but once you own them you'll love them too!). (Side note: I've have reached out to the 3M Post It Notes corporation asking them to make this product available here!)
To Do Lists in Action…
If you would like to see how I organize my to do list- check out this video:
Would you like to get organized?
Here are some more posts to inspire you:
- How to Put Your To Do List in Your Calendar (and keep it all in one place!)
- 15 Fantastic Command Centers to Help Busy Moms Stay Organized
- The 10 Best Family Calendars
- 5 Ways Using a Family Calendar Can Improve Your Life!
- The 5 Best Planners for Busy Moms
- Free Customizable Printable Grocery List
- How to Create a Magnetic Menu Planning Board
*Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission if you purchase through these links. It’s a great way to support a blogger!
So please weigh in…. how do you organize your to-do list? On paper, in your calendar, or in an app? And does having an organized to do list help you to get more done?