In discussing our vacation a month beforehand, I mentioned the lists I had going. To do, to buy, to pack, etc. Several friends commented along the lines of, “I’ve never kept lists. Maybe I should.” I disguised my shock but thought, I better write about how to become a list-maker.
Let me start by saying, if you’ve got it together, I’m not talking to you.
You might need to become a list-maker if you…
- admire people who gets things done
- frequently miss or forget appointments
- feel disorganized in your home or business
- spend too much time running errands or making last-minute trips to the store
- feel like your brain is overloaded
- have projects you want to accomplish but feel overwhelmed
I LIVE by my lists. I often say, “If it’s not on the list, it doesn’t exist.”
That counts for phone calls, to-dos, projects, tasks, shopping lists, blog post ideas, follow-up with friends…pretty much everything that needs to happen has to be on a list for me to attend to it.
The truth is, I only have so much mental capacity.
We all have limited mental capacity!
You have to get it on paper to make it a reality.
So how do you become a list-maker?
1. Start with a simple daily to-do list.
- Have no more than ten for a day
- Mark no more than three as “must dos” so if everything goes to pot, at least THOSE get done. Obviously these are the most time-sensitive items
- Anything that doesn’t get done moves to the next day’s list
- Your to-do list can be divided into, say, work vs. home tasks to keep you organized and avoid overwhelm
- Tackle a hard task first to feel success and motivate you to keep going
- Consider tackling your tasks from hardest to easiest
- Reward yourself when you mark items off!
2. Make a list for an upcoming event.
I divide mine into “to do” for tasks and mini projects, “to buy” divided by store or type (to make shopping and errands easier) and “to find” for what I need to assemble from home or take out of storage.
I make an updated list the night before the event for all the last-minute stuff like grabbing the water bottles out of the fridge or buying cupcakes on the way there.
3. Make a list of projects you want to tackle.
What are the projects or goals you’ve been meaning to get to, but that seem to allude you in the busyness of life?
I’ve got news for you: life never slows down so you have to be intentional when it comes to accomplishing your goals.
If you’ve been meaning to try yoga, clean out your closet or schedule a girls’ night out, get them on a list. Once your daily to-dos are done, refer to this list. When you decide on one, start a new list. For yoga, for example, you might need to 1. schedule a class 2. purchase a yoga mat 3. find headband 4. paint toenails 5. fill water bottle.
This might be your most important list!
4. Make a seasonal to-do list.
What do you want to do with the kids before summer break is over? What do you want to do this fall that you can never seem to fit in in years past? These lists are fun and short-term so they’re great for practice. There are oodles of ideas on Pinterest.
5. Consider combining your to-do list with a gratitude journal.
I’ve started trying this for the general day-to-day stuff. At the end of the day, I mark items off or add the things that happened that I hadn’t been expecting. It helps me keep track of what I’ve gotten done and need to get done and allows me to see the unexpected opportunities and blessings that have come along.
When you become a list-maker, it should help you stay organized and on track for achieving your goals, large and small.
For more ideas, visit my Pinterest board: Productivity Pointers.
If you’re not a list-maker, I hope you’ll give it a try! Let me know what happens!