The Organized Journey

How to Make an Effective To Do List

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To be honest, I haven’t felt organized at all lately. I miss it, and need to get back to my happy place of lists and accomplishments.

I’m not really sure why I’ve gotten off track lately, but it could have something to do with this little human I’m incubating. He seems to have a very forget-things-constantly affect on me. I believe that’s called baby brain, which I’ve heard turns into mommy brain when the little one makes an appearance.

My plan is to be proactive and get back to my list making. Especially if I want to make it through the next few months of holidays, birthdays, deadlines, and appointments with a little bit of sanity.

Here are some tips I’ve found helpful when making a list:
1. Make several lists This almost seems counterintuitive, right? How are more lists going to make me more productive? By splitting up and categorizing tasks, you can make things seem a bit easier and help focus your time better. For example, at the start of each weekend I like to make a list of things I want to accomplish. This is a new list that I start every weekend. I also have a long term list of things that need to get done in the next month or so, as well as a it would be nice if this got done eventually list. At work each day I make a list of things that need to get done, and anything that doesn’t get a check moves on to the next day’s list.

2. Don’t put too much on your list I think alot of people mean well by stocking up their to do list, but in reality, this can make your tasks seem much more daunting. I’ve done this myself and had the thought, “Look at all of the stuff on that list!! Why start anything if you’ll never be able to get through it all?” You want to set yourself up for success by only putting a handful of things on your daily list, and doing a brain dump of everything else that’s swimming around in your head on another list. Once you accomplish everything on your first list, you can add more from your dump other list.

3. Start with the hardest thing first Or as Brian Tracy says, “Eat That Frog!” Do the thing you don’t really want to do first. Once you get that done, you’ll feel such a sense of accomplishment, that everything else on your list will be cake. Chocolate cake.

4. Break up tasks into steps This especially applies to Tip #3. If you don’t know where to start, jot down some steps that will help you get the task done. What supplies or resources do you need? Are there parts of the task that can be done before others? Questions like these will get you thinking about what the goal of the task is, and those baby steps are alot less intimidating to tackle.

5. Be realistic If you only have 60 minutes before guests arrive, you wouldn’t want to deep clean your whole house. You’d stick to the rooms they’ll be in and give each room a quick vacuum, dust, and decluttering. In the same way, you need to be honest with how much you think you can accomplish. You can always add more tasks from your other lists if you have extra time.

What are your favorite ‘get organized’ tips?

-KB

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