Friday, October 5, 2012

The ToDo List

I am a list fanatic.  Pre-smartphones I had lists everywhere.  I was a loyal FranklinCovey Planner user - remember those?  Then I got a smartphone and little by little the lists disappeared, and as I've realized little by little I had become less organized, and less productive but worst of all starting to get stressed out about the little free time I did have and how best to use it.

After I started using Pinterest, I found all sorts of organizational blogs, and while many had great ideas, none really worked for me.  So after a few different experiments, this is what I've come up with.

Yep, a good old fashioned one subject notebook.  Recycled no less.  The reason it says "Guided Reading" on it is that it's a leftover from my daughter last year.

Anyway, here's the system.  Starting in the middle of the book I fold a sheet of paper in half.  On the left side I write out my monthly and weekly goals.  On the right hand side of the page behind it, I write out the days to-dos but block them according to things to do during school hours, things to do after school and finally things to do when the kids are in bed.  Breaking up the timing of the tasks really helps, I used to look at my app to do list in the morning and see 10 things on it, feel overwhelmed and feel like I failed if I hadn't made it very far by lunch time.  Now I'm setting reasonable expectations based on when kids are around and when I have quiet time, and if I manage to work on something ahead of time, yay!!  Here's a shot of today's list.  I managed all my school time, most of my afterschool stuff (that Target trip took a little longer than I had hoped), and now I have a couple of hours of quiet to work on the bottom section before I call it a night.  Not too bad, if you ask me.

So far it's been great, I had never found an app that let me track everything at once.  On some days, I'll take notes on the left hand side of the daily page, and may fold it in to the folded page if I need to keep them, otherwise I rip it out and start fresh the next day.  That's why I start in the middle though, that way I can keep notes if I need to, and as the folded sheet gets crossed off I can rewrite it on a page in front. 

Ideally I write up the next day's list before I go to bed, but sometimes do it after dropping the kids off at school. 

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