To do lists are meant to keep us on track and to remind of the tasks that have been set before us on any given day. I hate to do lists. To be fair, I mostly only despise to do lists because I get distracted from the things I NEED to do by the things that I WANT to do. In fact, I’ve started adding the things that I enjoy doing to the lists so that I feel accomplished at the end of the day. As you can see, write a blog on to do lists is my number one item on today’s to do list!
The point of all that is this, whether you love to make and follow through on the lists (I have a friend who delights in minutely itemizing and creating to do lists of epic proportions…one day her list had 213 items on it) or loath them (ahem – ME! ME!) a to do list can help you organize your life if you STICK TO IT!
Here are a few simple things that I have found help me in writing, and sticking to, my to do lists:
1) Itemization – While I don’t think that it is completely necessary to minutely list every move you must make (just write, Fold Laundry, not Fold socks, fold underpants, fold shirts…etc) I do believe that basic itemizing can help you to follow through, especially if the task at hand seems to be very large and unmanageable.
If you are like me, all manner of cleaning gets left until the last possible moment before you begin to work on it. Laundry piles up all week and seems like enough to dress a small country, toys and craft items are strewn throughout the house and you can’t find the boxes they go in, and cups litter the side tables (ok, so my house isn’t nearly that bad, I do pick up every day, but the imagery here is EXACTLY how I feel every time I start!). In order to keep myself on track, I write lists like you see above: Laundry – Wash, Dry, Fold/Hang, Put AWAY (the last one is the important part here!). I do dishes the same way. Toys, help the baby put them up…dig the balls out from under the couch, etc. I have found that if you make the simple list of steps, it suddenly seems easier to follow through with the process.
2) Keep your To-Do list short and sweet. While I am amazed and proud of those who can write a 200 item to do list and finish it on schedule, I cannot. I can, however, write a 7 item list and work through it during my day. I realize that those seven items won’t get my entire house sparkling in one day, but if you have a rotating list of absolute to dos for each week, everything should stay well taken care of. For example: I try to do my laundry once a week, usually on a Monday or Tuesday, so those days have laundry listed. Add dishes, vacuuming, and cleaning one bathroom to that day, then do the other bathroom, toy duty, and the baby’s room the next, etc. Once you have a routine, the house will stay picked up and you will have more time to go run through the sprinklers with your kids!
3) INCLUDE FUN THINGS! – No matter how long you decide to make your to-do list please remember to include a fun thing or two. Take a break from scrubbing the floors and wringing out the gym clothes to watch your favorite television show, take a walk around the local park or lake, play a game, or whatever it is that makes you happy. Those little entries on the list serve to remind you that some things need done just because you want to do them, and the happier you are, the easier it is to wash that bowl.
4) Finally, if you have children, nieces or nephews, or even particularly intelligent pets, include them in your cleaning plans. My toddler likes to help vacuum. She will walk around the room and point out places that I need to run over. This causes her to squeal and laugh in the wonderful deep belly laugh of hers. Sometimes she even remembers to move her stuffed animals out of the way before they become monkey meat for the machine! If awake while I, or her grandmother (she and live with my parents) do dishes, she sits in her high chair and plays splashes in water that we put on the tray with a little bit of her ‘no more tears’ soap. She gets to splash, make suds, wash her plastic toys, and help us clean the kitchen! She love it, and it gets her high chair pretty clean too! My dog, on the other hand, hides under the bed and won’t help us do anything unless we have a new toy for him…then he grabs it and puts it away with the rest of the mangled crew in the corner.
So there you have it, a long blorticle on writing more effective to do lists. I hope that I have helped you somehow, or even just made you smile! Have a blessed day.