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Staying organized and on top of the tasks at hand is made so much easier with my simple list making technique! You won’t believe how easy it is to apply and maintain! And what a huge difference it makes in the level of productivity!
Keeping a system of lists is a great way to get more organized, stay focused, feel like you’re more in control of how your day goes, and feel more productive (as you check items off). My mind is always in a million places, trying to keep track of what needs to happen today, tomorrow, next week and right in this moment, so I like to “brain dump” it all onto lists so I don’t forget things.
I feel like the information in this post is nothing earth-shattering and yet it’s made such a HUGE difference in my life over the years. Especially since school just started and I’m devoting a large portion of each day to helping my kids with distance learning, I rely on lists to keep me sane, prioritize “to do” items, appropriately block my time, and feel accomplished at the end of the day. No matter what method of list making you choose (old-fashioned paper and pen or using technology), lists are a brilliant way to conquer the many tasks life throws at us. Even if you’ve never considered yourself a list maker, now’s a great time to start and see what it can do to improve your productivity! It really only takes a few minutes of the day and gives you many more minutes in return!
Here’s how I set up my list system:
Daily/Short Term Lists
At any one time, I have anywhere from 5-10 running lists at my desk. I love the sticky note method for daily lists because it’s so convenient to access and maintain. I can constantly see the notes on top of my desk as a reminder of what needs to happen that day. I typically have at least one list for household tasks, one for my blog tasks, one for kids’ school tasks, one for blocking my time and one for ideas/inspiration for the future. It really helps to break them up. I usually try to color coordinate these lists as well. I make/edit these daily lists when I first wake up for the day at 6 am (before I exercise) and it takes just a matter of minutes!
Longer Term/Weekly Lists
I also keep about 5-10 different lists on my phone (in the “Notes” app) at any one time. These are typically my more long-term lists such as my weekly grocery list, meal plans for the week, weekly and monthly goals, home project ideas, items that need to get done by the end of the week instead of today, etc. I typically make my weekly lists on Sunday evening when I’m planning my week out. This is also when I decide on meals for the week and make the weekly grocery list.
How to use lists to your advantage once you’ve made them
All throughout the day, as I’m passing my desk or sitting at my computer, I skim my lists to see what else needs to get done, check off items that already got done, and take mental note of what I’ll tackle next. I’m a very results-driven person, so, as I’m doing one thing, I’m always thinking onto the next task that needs to get done afterwards. This motivates me to not waste time and to keep moving forward.
In summary, make the lists at the beginning of each day, view them often during the day, check off or delete tasks as they get accomplished, decide what needs to happen next, then move onto it as soon as possible.
We all have the same amount of time in a day, it’s just a matter of how we choose to use it! I definitely have days where I feel discouraged about not being productive enough, and they are most often days where I didn’t stick to my list, or got distracted and wasted time doing unimportant things rather than list items. Of course we all need time to breathe and take a break, but lists are a great way to stay focused on the end goal.
I think one of the greatest feelings is that of checking off items on that list (it’s so freeing and satisfying)! Especially when it required a lot of work to get to the point of crossing them off. Never underestimate the power of a list! 🙂
Do you love to make lists? I’d love to hear how it’s helped you and what system you use!
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