Making lists and writing things down is one of the first steps to being highly organized.
Planning ahead and being methodical, can help you to be more productive. Being able to check items off your list, gives you that positive feeling of accomplishment.
Constantly having too much to do, has motivated me to upgrade my list making strategy.
I’ve always had a Things to Do list. The problem is, it gets too vague and general. Separating my lists into categories helps me to keep organized and tackle entire sections at one time. Keeping several kinds of lists can help you stay on top of your game.
Keeping organized and prioritizing commitments, helps me to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
These are A Few of My Favorite Lists…..
Yes, I can hear Julie Andrews singing this line in my head….
TTB ~ Things To Buy
Who doesn’t have this list? Upgrade it, by breaking it up into now and later sections. This list can have subdivisions for immediate needs and near future items. Milk and deodorant would be on the Need Now list. Household items, new socks, seasonal stuff and laundry detergent might go on the Need Soon list.
FTV ~ Friends to Visit
It is so easy to get caught up in work and home responsibilities, that we neglect our close friends. Keep a list of who you are overdue to visit so you can spend some quality time together. Set a goal of once or twice a month to make time to meet for coffee, lunch, dinner or drinks. If you are on a health kick (shouldn’t we all be?) make plans to walk at a park or go for a hike. Then you can cross exercise off one list, and visiting off another!
PTC ~ Projects to Complete
This is my big list of crafty and creative projects I want to work on in my “free time”. Some projects are larger like redecorating or reorganizing a room in our home. Others are quicker, like changing the tablecloth, runner and centerpiece on the table. It is just a small job but it gives a quick refresh to our dining room. By keeping a running list, I remember to focus on these pleasant chores when I have extra time.
DTT ~ Daytrips to Take
There are so many beautiful and exciting places to visit nearby but we often forget them. For us, living on Long Island close to New York City we have an endless supply of daytrips nearby. When I see a new bakery or restaurant opened near the Long Beach boardwalk, I add that to my daytrip list. This past fall we spent a day in NYC walking the Highline and eating at Chelsea Market. I remembered to plan the day simply because it was on my list! This is one of of the very pleasant lists that I enjoy completing. Often exercise is involved so I get to cross items off two lists.
BTR ~ Books to Read
When a friend tells you a great book to read, do you remember the title? When you finish a book, do you forget which one you wanted to read next? Start keeping a list of book titles for future reading. I also keep a list of websites I want to check out when I have a block of time.
DTM ~ Dinners to Make
My dinner lists have sections for quick weeknight dinners like fried rice, chicken soup or one pot pasta dishes. Other lists, have new dinners to try, family favorites for special weekends and bulk cooking so I can freeze dinners for busy weeks. I also keep a Delicious things to Bake list; everyone likes that list.
Where do you keep all these lists?
I keep track of everything for years now in digital format on my phone. I have close to 200 lists in my Notes App so I don’t stress about forgetting things. For over 20 years, I have kept many files on my PC. The ability to carry all your “life info” in your hand or pocket makes staying organized so much easier.
PTC ~ People To Call
Keep a list of business related phone calls that need to be completed. This would include doctor appointments, banking, school and work related calls. Personal and social phone calls can be on a different list since they may not be as time sensitive. Cross two business calls off your list and then reward yourself with a social call.
MTBM ~ Money to Be Made
Multiple income streams and creating more of them, is a favorite pastime for me. While I have always had a full time job, I will want to retire some day. Creating income streams through part time work is highly motivating to me. I keep a list of ideas and opportunities for present and future consideration. When I am ready to retire from my full time teaching job, I plan to have several part time income streams ready to work on as my part time jobs.
TTR ~ Things To Relax
As silly as it may sound, we can get so busy, we forget to relax. Often, I squeeze “relax time” in between two appointments when I don’t have enough time to go home. Rather than trying to squeeze in yet another errand, I try to slow down the pace sometimes.
While I would love time to go to the beach even in the off season, I often don’t have time. I sometimes read in the car in the sun with windows rolled down and pretend I’m at the beach. This is relaxing and I catch up on reading or even a nap. This is when the alarm on your smartphone comes in very handy. Stopping at the nail salon for a 15-20 minute neck and back massage is a perfect mini pampering pit stop. After my mini break, I go to my next appointment more relaxed and refreshed.
PTB ~ Places To Be
Ultimately, this is your digital calendar. There are some crazy busy days with multiple meetings, appointments and commitments. It helps to see the list so that I can leave one place on time to get to the next one. For more ideas about using a digital calendar to stay organized, read this post.
WTGE ~ Ways to get exercise
Other than regular everyday exercise, I keep a list of hiking and other ways to stay fit. Whenever I can combine two things at once, I do. If I find a new park or trail that we haven’t tried before, I add it to my list for future reference. Other exercise destinations and activities include places to go stand-up paddle boarding, biking or fitness trails to try. For ideas about adding more exercise to your day, see this post.
VTP ~ Vacations to Plan
This is a fun list for both immediate and future use. I keep a list of great places I would love to visit and attractions nearby. This list, like many others gets broken into sub lists. There are long, expensive vacations that we take every few years. Then I have the more practical 2-3 night vacations that are plenty of fun but make less of a dent in our wallets. For tips about getting free hotel rooms, read this post.
HFTE ~ Healthy Foods to Eat
I am always searching for new and different healthy foods or ways to cook vegetables. Since I am not always able to print out the recipe, I add it to a list. I may add the name and site to my list or just paste a link to the web page right into my notes. That way, when I am looking for something new to cook or I am at the store choosing what to buy, I just check my list!
Some lists are frankly, just plain boring but we need to make them anyway! The sooner we cross items off the list, the more time for fun activities and hobbies.
BTP ~ Bills to Pay I no longer need this list! All my payments are automated through online banking, saving me time. For more about getting organized with Online Banking, Read This.
HCTD ~ Household Chores To Do I do not need to spell this out for you
TTS ~ Things to Scrub Those little corners of the house we have been trying to ignore….
SSTD ~ Stupid Stuff to Do No explanation required….