Most days I don’t think I would survive without my “To-Do” lists. Seriously.
I can’t be trusted to wing it and get everything done. I can wing just about any meeting or presentation or unexpected Q&A at work- but not a productive back to the grind kind of work day. And unless the task is “drink coffee” or “wish you didn’t have so much To Do today” – if it’s not on the list it won’t get done.
Hence – “Eat Lunch – leftovers” and “Shower” (that comes up later) making the actual list. Not on the list it won’t happen.
Writing To Do lists is how my alert, intelligent , and aware self assists my tired, overwhelmed, frazzled and stressed self -to remember everything that needs to get done.
Writing To Do lists is also how my ambitious and initiative-taking self tricks my lazy, excuses-making and unmotivated self into being an overall productive and functioning employee and human. I’m a sucker for not wanting an unchecked box if I can help it. I sleep better when I feel like everything that was supposed to be done today- is done.
It’s a mental game: Self-Awareness vs. Human Nature.
My system is this:
1) Look at my last To Do list – usually from the day before. This gets my brain moving. It usually happens over coffee – as my very slow computer tries, pathetically, to boot up. The reflection orients my mind to they day, tasks and challenges ahead.
2) Make today’s To Do list. Include any tasks left from yesterday. Organize list by categories (i.e. home/personal and work). In each category, organize in the order I currently see it happening based on priority and/or expected time frames.
3) Do as much as possible on the To Do list. Switch categories to stimulate brain and body so as to maximize time and productivity and not waste any time. (i.e. too much creating for work and brain is tired – take a 15 minute break for shower. Eat lunch while working and use lunch break to work out. Etc. )
4) If things aren’t going as expected with today’s To Do list- I do one of the following:
- a) address highest priorities first, especially if there are close deadlines or due dates.
- b) tackle as many small, busy work, or administrative items as possible to give brain a break but also boost motivation by continuing a feeling of accomplishment and productivity.
- c) some combination of a and b that seems to makes sense for today.
5) At end of day – look over list. Check off any items forgotten to be checked off during the day. Feel good about what was done. Forgive myself for not being an alien or super-duper human who can get anything and everything done every day. Don’t worry – the tasks will be waiting for me tomorrow.
6) Decide if a list for tomorrow is necessary based on tomorrow’s schedule. (Sometimes tomorrow is a conference or training. I may need to schedule leave times and gather materials – but they are less To Do list days than others.) If needed, do one of the following:
- a) complete step 1 for tomorrow right now. Helps to feel prepared for tomorrow and wake up confident to start right in with tasks.
- b) Do nothing. Be done. Start back at step 1 tomorrow. My brain can tackle tomorrow….tomorrow.
7) Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
It got really crazy when I was in my Masters Program and planning my wedding. My categories were too big so I had ongoing lists for each category and a daily list that took items from each list. A list to keep track of the lists. And some of the tasks had their own ad hoc lists.
But hey. It worked for me! It still works. So I keep doing it!
Some people may be more stressed just reading this. But others may be able to relate.
Taking the time to make the list, look at the list throughout the day, and reflect on the list at the end of the day – keeps me organized and focused.
Today was a tough To Do list day. It was one of those days where every item on the list takes 3 times as long as I thought it would. It was my last day of work before a week off. We are heading up to the family cabin for 5 days first thing in the morning. Its been a busy week so I didn’t do enough ahead of time I needed about 72 hours in this 24 hour day. My full To Do list today looked like this:
As you can see – I’m on the last box. (Which – by the way – has been on every To Do list for the last 10 days and has been a wonderful and welcomed addition. ) However, the work tasks at the top were each going to individually be the death of me. They took FOREVER!!!
And each task that looks simple – such as “make grocery list” was actually bigger than it looked. Because it included things like scavanging the fridge to incorporate things that will go bad if not used along with meal and budget considerations before actually making the list. Oh right – and taking the time to write another list! 😂
And as the day went on – this one list became a living list that birthed additional lists in effort to save myself time by tagging in the family as they arrived home.
One for Bri.
One specifically for all things that Chad and I are needed to for packing.
And NOW….. A list for the morning! YAYYYYY 😀
Phew. I’m exhausted. I thought about taking a picture to show you just how exhausted I am – but I’m too tired for that. Plus – I’ll save you that image.
It’s 12:44 am (not bad for me – just happy to actually be tired!) which means my #Beauty4Balance:Day 10 post is actually going to publish in Day 11…..BUT – I don’t care!
Because I did it!! Even though I would have preferred to spend a few minutes with a friend who was in the neighborhood or just got to bed. But….10 days ago I made a challenge to myself. And then I wrote it down. If I’ve learned anything from this whole To Do list thing, it’s that that means I’m committed. And The fact that I wrote tonight gives me confidence that this is something I am really committed to.
#Beauty4Balance: Day 10 has taught me that completing things you set your mind to FEELS beautiful. But also that a To Do list that is completely checked off is DEFINITELY a beautiful sight for these eyes to see. 😎😍
☑️ Complete To Do List for today
~Be Gentle. Be Beautiful. Embrace the Mess.
How #Beauty4Balance Posts started: #Beauty4Balance: Day 1. Trumped. Challenge Accepted.
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