Get the oil on the car changed; plan Saturday’s dinner party; write thank you note to Jenna – these are the items on my to-do list for today. And I mean an actual written list, not just some ideas floating around in my head. Why, you may ask, would I need to write these down? After all, it’s only three things. Writing things down prevents me from forgetting things, helps me know what to focus on, and frees me from the stress of having to remember. Writing it isn’t the same as having it in my head – a written list is like a best friend who gently reminds me what and when I should be working on hings to keep me out of trouble. A written list puts me in control of my day, and it can do the same for you.
I have several lists that help me take advantage of the power of writing things down, and I’m sharing them with you here. If you’d like a complete collection of all the forms and lists that help me and my clients stay organized, check out my APPLES Resource Guide. Fear not, Jenna – your thank-you note is in the mail!
Before I start describing my lists, I want to comment on what form your lists can take. I prefer written lists – they work well with my paper planner and I like the hand-to-brain connection of writing things down. You may prefer electronic lists – something you can save on your computer or carry around on your smart phone. Here are two resources that can get you started on making electronic lists: IQtell and Lifehacker. I’d love to hear what electronic lists you like to use.
Okay, on to my list of lists:
Master To-Do List This is where I write down things I have to do that I’m not quite sure when I’ll do. For example, I want to follow my own advice and update my emergency plans (e.g., what to do if a tornado wipes out my home). I could just choose a date to do it and jot it down on the corresponding page in my planner. However, my next couple of months are very full so I’m not quite sure when I’ll do it. Rather than trusting that I’ll remember to do it at some point, I’ve added it to my master to-do list. I keep this list in my planner, review it once a week (the reminder to do so is on my Weekly To-Do List) and schedule anything I’m ready to commit to doing. You can read more about a master do-do list in my previous blog posting.
Weekly To-Do List My weekly to-do list is typed onto a notecard that moves from Sunday to Sunday (attached via paper clip) in my paper planner. It reminds me to do things like water the houseplants, plan next week’s meals (check out my previous blog posting on meal planning), and prepare for next week’s clients. My houseplants, hungry family and clients appreciate my being on top of these things.
Daily To-Do List I have two kinds of daily to-do lists; one is similar to what most people use – I pick three to five things I want to get done on any given day and write those in my planner. But I also have a daily list that’s typed on a notecard and moves from day to day in my planner. It lists recurring tasks I want to attend to each day, like water my outdoor flowers, thaw the next day’s dinner (thanks to planning meals each week, this is easy), and check some of my social media sites. Even though I remember to do most of these things without looking at the list, having them written down keeps things from falling through the cracks.
Here’s a link to my newsletter where you can read more about the lists that keep me organized. I’d love to hear what lists you use to help you stay on top of things
Wishing you simplicity, harmony and freedom,