I LOVE schedules…& menu plans & wipeboards & vision boards & dayplanners & wall calendars AND LISTS!!! I have lists everywhere! Grocery list, chore list, bucket list, bills to be paid list…and my TO DO LIST. There is something comforting about crossing things OFF my To Do list. However, if you are anything like me, you may notice that your To Do list never seems to get shorter. Are you constantly adding things to the bottom of your TO DO List so even when you cross something off, you really haven’t gotten closer to completing it? But that all ends now!! Time to start prioritizing your TO DO list and actually get it DONE!
STEP 1: Create a MASTER To Do List (optional)
Consider creating a MASTER To Do List, the never ending list that you are always adding to. Basically, this where you “brain dump.” Write down everything you can think of that needs to get done that is NOT repeated monthly/weekly. This doesn’t need to be pretty! Just keep it somewhere easily accessible so you can get to it if you need to.
STEP 2: Focus on THIS MONTH’s To Do List
First, write down things that happen EVERY month – meal plan, pay bills, assign chores to kids, update family calendar & dayplanner, etc. I put a * next to things that happen just once and ** next to things that happen weekly.
Then, use your Master List to write down what is happening THIS month – plans for special events/birthdays, projects that must be completed, projects that need to be prepped for, etc.
Now you have a jumping off point for actually PRIORITIZING your To Do list to get it done! Grab 3 colored pens/markers/highlighters. Assign a color for the beginning, the middle, & of the end of the month and circle/highlight the items on your list accordingly. If my month seems pretty full, I circle items that can be pushed off until later. (This may sound time consuming, but it goes quickly and makes the next step WAY easier)
STEP 3: Make THIS WEEK’s To Do List
Here is where prioritizing your To Do List really starts to make a difference. Let’s just assume we are planning the first week of the month. Grab a sheet of paper and break it up into 4 sections labeled as below. I use the ToDo List already in my Golden Coil Day Planner.
WOULD LIKE TO DO’s &
OTHERS NEED ME TO DO’s
First, look at the things you marked as EARLY in the month and assign them accordingly for THIS week. They will likely fill in your MUST DO’s and SHOULD DO’s section. Then, add stuff you would like to get do IF you finish the MUST and SHOULD DOs. You may find that you add new things to these categories as the week goes on and that’s fine! The list is set in stone. Just be careful to prioritize honestly. You can set up several WEEK To Do Lists at once so that you can spread things out and then tweak as the month progresses. Don’t feel pressured to fill every line or even every section! The idea here is to create a list you can ACUTALLY complete!
STEP 4: Make TODAY’S To Do List
Just follow the same process from Step 3 to create a this list. You may want to add a section for “Habits.” These are things that you want do daily that are not actual tasks. Examples would be working out, personal devotional time, checking your bank account balance, jot down something you are thankful for, etc.
Step 5: Define SUCCESS for YOUR List and CELEBRATE it
This may seem silly since we would assume getting everything done on a list is “success.” BUT, depending on how huge and/or time consuming a paticular task may be (i.e. Getting my taxes done), I sometimes define success as just completing my MUST DO’s for a single day or week. Then, I can simply roll the SHOULD DO’s to the next day/week if it is absolutely neccesary. By prioritizing my To Do List and determining what success looks like each day, I don’t feel like there is just always more to do. Instead, I celebrate my success with just a tasty piece of chocolate that has been carefully hidden in the back of my fridge. LOL
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