Before I show you how I try to balance my crazy/cluttered life, let me start by telling you that the first step to getting organized always starts with a TO-DO LIST.
Every morning I sit at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee and start a new TO-DO list. This 5-10 minute activity helps set the pace for the day. I recently discovered/fell in love graph paper Post-it notes for my list making. I’m a sucker for graph paper; it makes me happy. They’re great because they’ll stick anywhere.
There are 3 Basic Lists I like to make:
1. CURRENT DAY:
This list charts out my game plan for the day; it’s a list of specific things that need to get done. On this list, you’ll find my chores like laundry, emptying/loading the dishwasher, putting away toys, blog work, paying a bill, straightening up the house etc. Everyday there’s something new to add! It never ends…
2. LONG TERM:
This list consists of things I’ve been thinking about doing. These items don’t necessarily belong on my current day list because I need to plot out a day/weekend or large chunk of time to accomplish them. Sometimes they’re lofty ideas and sometimes they’re things that need I desperately need to get done to gain balance in my life-ahem, cleaning up my office, cleaning out the piles of clothes I’ve thrown in my car or tackling my paper problem at home. It’s important to remember your long term goals because every now and then you might have a free weekend/block of time and you can refer to the list to help give you a game plan.
3. ERRANDS TO RUN:
Yup. Just that. My crazy-brain likes to plan out my erranding so I have a well planned route for my destinations. I absolutely hate backtracking so this list is super important to me. When you have a child, you always need to account for bathroom trips, snack/lunch time and nap time into your scheduling. I usually write down what I need to do and then put a number next to each item to chart out my driving route. This list KEEPS ME SANE.
TO-DO LIST TIPS:
- Keep a pad of paper on your night stand! If you’re losing sleep over what you have to do the next day, write it down! You’ll get to sleep faster if you have your action plan for the next day.
- It’s OK to write things on your TO-DO list that you’ve already done. It’s positive reinforcement AND at the end of the day you can see a whole list of your accomplishments. It feels good.
- Always keep a notepad & pen in your car. Some of the best ideas happen when you’re traveling. Just be safe and write something down when your car isn’t moving.
- If you don’t get something done, add it to the top of the next day’s TO-DO list.
- Don’t forget to leave the house with your TO-DO list. If you think you might forget it, plan ahead and take a picture of your list with your cellphone. It’s a savior!
RESOURCES FOR TO-DO LISTS:
–TeuxDeux is a great app that you can put on your iphone, ipad or use online to manage TO-DO lists. I tend to use this program only I’m working on my computer. You can quickly add/cross off things you need to accomplish for the day/week. It’s simple, super functional and you can access your ongoing list from any computer.
-If you’re a loyal paper list maker, Simple Mom has a bunch of downloads to help with your paper list making. I highly recommend the Daily Docket! It helped me balance my life after I had a baby.
–Graph Paper Post-its are awesome. I found mine at Target.
Got a great list making tip? Let us know!