Personalized home organization
Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
I used to think to do lists were no longer needed. I could remember things. I didn’t need to write them down to make sure I knew what to do. I had a calendar with major deadlines, what else did I need? I have always been an organized person and figured I could remember what I needed to do day to day. I had a planner, but never created a to do list in it. I would just add pretty stickers and kept it more as a date book with my appointments in it.
But then I would forget things. I would get to the end of the day and realize I actually had something I needed for tomorrow! I even had a day when I was teaching that I hadn’t made copies for the next day at 7 pm the night before. I had to change my whole morning schedule so I could get to school early enough to make all the copies and hope the copy machine wasn’t broken (if you’ve ever been a teacher, you know this feeling!). This is when I learned how writing things down and having a to do list was so important.
Your brain can only hold so much information. And when you’re trying to hold everything in, some things slip through the cracks. By writing down every morning what I needed to do, I was able to get it out of my head and onto paper.
But, I would always have ideas in my head that I wanted to do in the future and knew I wouldn’t be able to do that day. These items would make their way at the bottom of my to do list because I didn’t have anywhere else to keep them. Sometimes, it would be an idea for a lesson that was coming up in the next unit. Other times, they were personal projects I wanted to do but knew I wouldn’t have time for until the weekend or over the summer.
For a long time, I would write and rewrite my to do list each morning. Transferring what I hadn’t finished from the day before and adding what I needed to do each day. However, I realized the same things would get pushed from day to day. I didn’t have another system for keeping those thoughts out of my head and on paper. I was afraid if they weren’t on my list, I would lose them. Even having another paper was risky!
Another way a to do list helped me was with major deadlines. I had my calendar with major deadlines on it, but I didn’t have a way to plan out the smaller steps to reach that deadline. When I created a to do list, I could break down my major projects or deadlines into smaller pieces. This way, I didn’t need a whole day to finish a project, I could do a little bit each day and spread out the work. As a former procrastinator, this was huge! I figured out a way to help my brain focus on the smaller tasks rather than just the major deadline.
This is when I discovered a digital to do list. I could create deadlines for items that I wanted to get done but didn’t have an actual deadline. I could add things to my to do list that I wanted to do in a week, in a month, and set those deadlines as well. Being able to control what would show up on my daily to do list was a game changer!
I use Asana, a digital to do list, for both my personal and work to do lists. This way, I can look each morning and see what I wanted to get done that day. Some days, I am able to plow through and get everything done that I wanted to. Other days, I need to change when items are due. Using a digital planning tool makes this so easy. All I do is change the due date to the next day or next week, whenever I am planning on getting the item done!
I also am able to add tags. I add whether the item is a “shallow” task like sending a quick email or “focus” task like writing a blog post. If I have a few minutes, I can easily find what shallow tasks to get done. Then, I can time block the focus tasks on my calendar to make sure I have the time to focus on those (and have childcare). Have you ever tried to focus on something with a two year old around? It’s not easy!
This even worked this morning. I sat down to write this blog post right after dropping off my older son and bringing the younger one home. We played until the babysitter showed up. When I sat down to write, I was not in the mood at first. So, I took a look at my digital to do list and tackled some “shallow” tasks. That gave me the momentum to get into my workday rather than trying to jump into a “focus” task right after playing with a two year old (I am also working on establishing workday rhythms to help with this!).
For future or later tasks, I still like to add a due date so it doesn’t stay in the abyss of my to do list app. For future work tasks, I pick a lighter client week when I may have some time to get other projects done. Sometimes, they stay there and other times I need to move them until later. Currently, all my future tasks are set for the beginning of my maternity leave (I am taking off a month before my due date) or when both kids are back in school. These are times when I know I will have some more time to get my projects done rather than focusing on kid projects.
If you haven’t tried it, I challenge you to try out a digital to do list as well. Play around with it for a couple of weeks and see if you can find a way it works well for your schedule. Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes!
Brand + Website By Carrylove Designs
Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
| Brand + Website By Carrylove Designs