Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The To-Do List

Over the past few months, I've noticed a decrease of productivity and an increased level of disorganization in my home.

Ever the list and schedule-lovin' freak maven, this frustrates me.

I finally figured out that I haven't been making regular to-do lists. Sure, I have all kinds of chores and plans in my head. But it seems that unless I have it written down right in front of me, it's difficult for me to stay on task and therefore be more productive.

So I'm starting the new year off with a to-do list for each day. At least for every weekday.

These lists are not long. I love crossing things off lists so I have to keep my to-do lists pretty realistic so I don't get discouraged. I generally  keep my daily to-do lists to 5 chores or less. That seems about right for my days and activity level. Some days may be less and some days a few more. Five seems to be a pretty good average for me.

My 5 chores do not include all the tasks in my morning routine or meal preparation. Rather, it's things that I may do once a week, phone calls or appointments to be made, etc.

My to-do list looks like this today:

  1. 2 loads laundry
  2. clean kitchen
  3. clean bathroom
  4. sewing project-alterations for friend
  5. 15 minutes decluttering in office
To some this may not look like very much to accomplish in one day. But I know that the cleaning jobs will take most of the rest of the morning. Laundry will be worked in and doesn't require much hands-on time. The sewing project will likely take most of my afternoon. Once I get started decluttering, chances are that I won't want to stop after just 15 minutes.

Being realistic with my to-do lists helps me to stay focused and be productive! That, my friends, is a very good thing!

What about you? Do you like making to-do lists? How do you stay focused and productive throughout your day?


gail said...

i can't function without a to-deo list. and i tend to put too much on mine. i'm always optimistic that i can get a whole lot done. i'm finally getting a handle on what i can and can't accomplish in a day.

Debbie J said...

I am the ultimate list maker Mary Ann! My methods change all the time, however. Right now I am using a planner I bought at Dollar General. It has a week at a time on two open pages. There is room to write down things to do each day and a place for notes. But I make a big to do list on Friday night to be done that weekend. Like Gail, I put way too much on there and hardly ever finish it.

I also have lists of things that need to be done in certain rooms, lists of things that need to be done weekly, twice a month, monthly, quarterly, etc. I also have a list of all the areas of my life that need attention..... Yikes, too many lists! :o)

Kathryn said...

Why, yes! To paraphrase Veggie Tales, "I love my Lists!"
But you already knew that! lol

Here's another list:

*I'm with Gail and Debbie--very optimistic about the to-do list, but baby feeding and discipling my kids seem to get in the way of getting everything on my list done.

*Its not just about the to-do list, there is the Google calendar, and the grocery saving spreadsheet, menu's....

*I find that consistently putting an item on the list helps me develop a habit, like my Saturday night list: bathes, clipping fingernails, laying out church clothes, packing the diaper bag, getting Sunday dinner ready,etc. Maybe someday I will do all these without having to do a list.

Kathryn said...

And lest you think I can't spell, its baths....not bathes.