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Are you a list maker? Maybe you’re wondering what it takes to make a good to do list. Or, it could be that you struggle to get things done, and you know that learning to make an effective to do list could help. As a busy mom of 9, I am a list maker by nature. When it comes to making a list, not all lists are created equal, however. I’m excited to share my to do list format that has made all the difference. If you’re wondering how to organize a to do list, I’ll show you how I do it. And, you’ll see that my to do list is more than just a daily list of things to do. My lists extend far beyond just a daily list, and it’s how I know I’m getting the most important things done each day. Since there are never enough hours in the day, I need to make sure that I’m at least getting the most important things done every day. Then, if I’ve got time to get extra things done, that’s just a bonus.
What could you do with an extra hour every day. Before you go any further, if you struggle to enough hours in your day, be sure to grab our simple worksheet that will walk you through finding an extra hour each and every day. Just tell us where to send it!
While I will share how I effectively use lists in a moment, it’s important to note that any list you make needs to work well for you & your lifestyle. You might find that my method for creating a list serves as a springboard to develop your own list making method. This is totally fine!
A list needs to serve you, not just become something else to put on your to do list. That’s not serving anyone.
With that said, let me show you my effective to do list format!
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When it comes to getting things done, I find that being a list maker helps me live more intentionally. I have a plan, and once I have it written down I am too much of a rule follower to not actually get that thing done. Not to mention the personal satisfaction I get from actually crossing things off my list. Simply put, being a list maker keeps things running efficiently and avoids wasting valuable time.
Not sure of where to start? Let me show you what lists look like for me.
- My overall plan of action is broken down into three sections: things to complete each month, things to complete each week, and things to complete each day.
- Quite often, these things come from goals that I’ve created for the year.
- After filling out my monthly tasks, I estimate how long each task will take so they can be evenly distributed throughout the weeks and then also on the days when I have more time based on school and activity schedules.
- I also like to put the tasks I like the least earlier in the week. Then I can look forward to just getting these dreaded tasks over with and being done.
- I have learned over time to leave myself some wiggle room in each day to allow something to spill over into the next day when it comes to the daily things.
- So my list starts out like this… I went ahead and made my list for May early. Sometimes I have “kids” written next to something. These are jobs that my kids could handle if they wanted to earn some extra cash.
- My general guideline is that I tackle two of these larger projects a week.
- To the left of the jobs listed are numbers that correspond with the week in which I will do them. One for the first week and so on.
- Next, I coordinate my calendar with how these jobs plug into the week based on what is going on…how busy I am and what is out of the ordinary.
- I included a picture from this week since it is too far out to plan the day to day stuff for May, but this gives you an idea of how it lays out. All of my daily things are listed, and again I like to include the time involved. It is much less time consuming for me to think about the time involved during the brainstorming phase than it is to plug these things into the day as it goes by. In the heat of the moment, I can look at my list and easily see what will fit into a pocket of time that develops.
I like keeping a list both for the accountability factor and also for the time saving effects it has in having things organized ahead of time. I am able to complete things in a more organized way and can then schedule tasks in the order that is most logical.
If you have never kept a list before, give it a try, I think you will find that you like it. The way I see it, writing things down frees up brain space, and I know I can certainly use more of that!
In addition, keeping a list in this way helps you to:
- not have things you want to accomplish fall through the cracks
- accomplish things in a logical order
- complete things in less time because of the logical order
- lessen the demands on you as a well=planed list will allow you to see where you can delegate tasks to others
- have less stress in everyday life
- have more productive days
- allow you to more effectively accomplish your goals
Lists can seem a bit overwhelming, unnecessary, and tedious at times, but lists really can help you get on your way to living a more purposeful life. It can take time to really master the technique, but it a something that is well worth taking on and eventually mastering.
For more on lists, try reading How to Create an Effective To-Do List
To read about setting goals, try reading What’s the Point of Setting Goals, Anyway? and So, You’ve Set Some Goals, Now What?
This post is based on day five in Crystal Paine’s new course, Make Over Your Evenings. We are working through this course together as a community, and you can still join in. Click on the graphic below to purchase the course, it’s only $17, and there is even a money back guarantee!