Using a To Do List to Keep Organized – Step 3 of 3

How is your To Do list looking? I have added a few items and crossed off others. I’m making progress, and I hope you are doing the same. Having completed STEP ONE and STEP TWO, here are my thoughts on getting those items crossed off one project at a time.

STEP THREE: Executing my To Do list.

Sometimes I need to revise my list. When I first write down an item, I list the broad category (i.e. clean upstairs). As I work through my list, I may get 20 minutes to start cleaning. When I have completed what I could in that time (i.e. the sink and toilet in my kids’ bathroom), I will update my To Do list by adding KIDS’ BATHROOM – CLEAN TUB AND FLOORS. I still keep CLEAN UPSTAIRS, but now I know what I still need to clean.

Most of my projects are done in sections. When my kids need me, I take time to spend with them. As they find something to play alone or with each other, then I can get a few minutes to tackle 1 or 2 items on my To Do list. By updating my list, I am better able to keep track of what I have done and what I still need to complete.

SIDE BENEFIT: With additional items on the list, you get to cross-off more items. Do you enjoy having items to cross-off your list? My husband loves to add items to his To Do list after completing tasks, just so he can cross off the item. He can quickly fill a legal-size sheet of paper. Silly guy! I’m just thankful he stays motivated as he crosses off the substantial items on his To Do list.

My To Do list saves me time since I do not stop to think about what needs to be done. Remember, I am task-oriented, and I need my To Do list to remind and guide me in using my time wisely. For those of you who are goal-oriented, how do you organize? Do you use a To Do list, calendar, or just handle things as they come? I’m interested to hear how you keep it together. Please leave a comment with your tips for staying-on-top  of your responsibilities. In reading the comments, someone else may benefit from your suggestion.

Using a To Do List to Keep Organized – Step 2 of 3

Like using a hammer to insert a nail makes the process easier, so using a To Do list makes using my time more productive. Last week, I shared how I create my To Do list. The list might look overwhelming when you think of everything that needs to be done. With the list created, we can now plan a course of action.

STEP TWO:    Prioritizing my To Do list.

During the afternoon and/or evening when I am working at my desk, I will review my To Do list. As I scan the list, I look for items that have an up-coming deadline since these items need to be completed before tasks that “just make my life easier.” By keeping myself reminded of my projects, I am better able to meet deadlines and stay-on-top of my responsibilities. When I finish one task, I have a plan for the next item to complete. My To Do list helps me to see all my projects at once, so I can prioritize which item needs to be completed next.

I usually prioritize by due date. For me, PAYING THE BILLS will be completed before PURGING 2010 ACCOUNT FILES. The account files have no deadline. They can sit for a long time without any penalty. But if I miss the due date of my utility bill, then I will probably get a late fee, possibly lose service, and end up paying more than necessary.

For another example, MAKING HISTORY FAIR PROJECT would be completed, started, or delegated before WRITING ADDITIONAL BLOG PAGES. Having the pages on the website would be nice, but my son needs his project by the end of April. (I don’t usually put the date beside the items on my To Do list because I can remember time frames. But if you need that extra reminder, then a month/day beside each item might help as you prioritize.) Just knowing the deadlines and the time frames needed for each item, I can prioritize and schedule my time wisely to complete the needed tasks.

Having my To Do list created and prioritize helps me to save time as I prepare to execute. Next week, we will conclude this 3-part series with executing our To Do list.

Using a To Do List to Keep Organized – Step 1 of 3

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the projects you need to complete? I get overwhelmed when I try to remember everything. If I am depending on my memory, I am bound to forget something. To alleviate the strain of recalling the projects I have committed to accomplish or deem necessary to complete, I keep a running To Do list on the right-hand side of my desk. In this 3-part series, I will share how I create, prioritize, and execute my To Do list.

STEP ONE:     Creating my To Do list.

My list is written on a pad of paper (3.5” x 6.5”). When I think of items I need to do, I jot them down on my list. The order of the items is based on when I remembered or decided to add that item to the list. As I complete an item, I cross it off the list. I continue to use the same list until I need more space for other items. At that time, I will transfer the remaining unfinished list items to the next sheet on the pad of paper to create a new list.

I re-created my list last night. Here is what it currently holds:

  • Research baseball ideas for son’s birthday
  • Switch out kid’s winter clothes for summer outfits
  • Write blog pages
  • Write blog posts for April
  • Pay bills
  • Clean upstairs
  • Respond to insurance appeal
  • Contact representatives for school’s Fall Festival
  • Make house for son’s history fair project

Try writing out your To Do list and keeping it in a visible location to review often. As you find items you need to address, phone calls to make, errands to run, and any other responsibility you need to complete, write it down. Now you don’t have to remember all your projects. You can just refer to your To Do list.

Next week, I will explain how I prioritize my To Do list and decide which item to complete next. How about you? Do you use a To Do list? Do you keep it on your phone, your computer, or on paper?