Your Routine: The To Do List

Hello Readers!  Today’s topic is the dreaded To Do List.  I know.  We all hate this list.  On it contains our list of things we have to do rather than what we want to do, right?  Well, let’s really think about this list and its importance to our lives.

First of all, why do we need this list?  I mean, we’re all responsible adults.  We all know what we need to do.  Right?  Well, let’s just say that things can slip through the cracks from time to time.  And it happens to all of us.  We have a full plate at all times, and we’re always juggling our responsibilities.  I hope I am not the only one who has tossed and turned all night, wide awake, wondering if I’ve paid the electric bill yet.  Even I experience the heartburn of the To Do list.

So, we need one.  But it doesn’t have to be boring.  It helps to add a task or two along the way that you want to do so that you feel motivated and refreshed to continue.  For me, I often schedule time to look at Pinterest or play a computer game.  Yes, I love my games.  My favorite is the Sims 3; I tried the latest one, the Sims 4, on the trial and I hated it.  But that’s a discussion for another day.  The point is that I schedule different tasks all the time that I want to do so that I don’t feel lost or burnt out doing my to do list.

Now, I want to talk about setting up your To Do list.  I recently stumbled upon a new way to set up my list that is similar to my tried and true technique yet different enough to help me focus on what I need to do.  My favorite technique has always been an itinerary technique in which I scheduled tasks based on how long they would take me.  It was quite rigid and structured, but it looked something like this:

Friday, Sept. 23
5:30 am- Wake up, get ready, shower, workout
7:00- Wake Sean, Breakfast
8:00-Clean house, laundry (start)
9:00- Laundry, wash rugs
9:30- Baseboards
11:00- Sean-bottle & nap
11:30- Blog- 1-3 posts
1:00- Lunch & clean up
2:00- Sean, play
3:00- meal plan & grocery list
3:45-Mom’s plan
4:45- G’ma’s gift
5:00- Sean- Bottle & nap
5:30- Blog work
7:00- Dinner & cleanup
8:00- Letters
8:30- Sean: Bath, book, bed
9:00- Relax/ Read

While this seems fairly easy, it’s actually pretty tough.  Often, I will draft the same day four or five times because I leave off something or lose my concentration.  This method involves a lot of concentration and and requires me to constantly think of my to do’s while drafting this.  And, most often, I will be exhausted once I’ve drafted my to do list and I won’t want to complete it.

However, I found a new method that is less detailed but still follows an itinerary plan.  First, I write down four primary tasks for three to five areas of my life.  Right now, my areas are “House”, “Family”, “Blog”, and “Personal”.  In my case, my family and house are separate because “Family” is primarily tasks I need to complete for family members, and “House” is any cleaning or housework I need to complete.

After determining the areas of my life, I start off my writing down anything I need to complete in that month for that area.  This is typically like “Blog Posts” in “Blog” and “Fall Cleaning” in “House”.  But, my goal is to have roughly five to ten tasks per area per month.  They are fairly general, but they get more specific in my daily list.

Next, I map out my daily to do by first writing down my four areas on the right half of my page.  For each area, I write four tasks to complete that day.  I do have a limit for a reason.  Before, I would focus completely on getting my house and family needs met, and I would get frustrated with trying to write my blog posts last minute or I would get burnt out because I would never allow any time for myself or for my personal needs.  So, I now limit my tasks to four per day per area, and so far it seems to be working quite well.

After figuring out what I want to do in that day, I then look at my calendar and determine if I need to do anything in that day.  Today, for example, we have nothing planned.  But I know that tomorrow my niece will be cheering for her tiny mighty football team, and we plan on attending the game to support her.  Anyway, I then start mapping out my day based on that.  But, rather than being rigid about it, I give myself about three hours each day per area and leave it at that.  Then, I just do what I want for that area during that time.

So, today’s looks like this:

TO DO

HOUSE
1.  Daily Duties

2.  Weekly- Monthly: Windows, Bar Area
3.  Laundry- Darks
4.  Fall Cleaning- Baseboards, Wash Rugs

FAMILY
1.  Sean’s Needs

2.  Gma’s birthday gift- shop
3.  Mom’s plan- final draft of first week; 2nd week draft
4.  Meal Plan & Grocery list

BLOG
1.  Draft 1-3 posts

2.  Plan 2017- Final section
3.  Draft monthly calendar and outline
4.  Photos-Fall fun & décor

PERSONAL
1.  Read- The Hundred Year Old Man…
2. 
Workout

3.  Letters- Jordan, Mom
4.  Draft/Brainstorm Recipe Collection

Next is my daily schedule, which looks like this:

Time TASK
am  6:00 Personal
6:30  Personal
7:00 Breakfast
7:30 Breakfast (cleanup)
8:00  House
8:30  House
9:00  House
9:30  House
10:00  House
10:30  House
11:00 Sean-bottle & nap
11:30  Blog
pm  12:00  Blog
12:30  Blog
1:00 Lunch
1:30 Lunch (cleanup)
2:00  Family
2:30  Family
3:00   Family
3:30   Family
4:00   Family
4:30      Family
5:00 Sean-bottle & nap
5:30   Blog
pm  6:00   Blog
6:30   Blog
7:00 Dinner
7:30 Dinner (cleanup)
8:00 Sean: bath, book, bed
8:30  Personal
9:00  Personal
9:30  Personal
10:00  Personal
10:30 Bed
11:00
11:30
am 12:00
12:30
1:00
1:30
2:00
2:30
3:00
3:30
4:00
4:30
5:00
5:30

From here, the rest is up to me.  What I love about this method is that it forces me to focus on the most important tasks of the day but it allows me to be flexible and free to do what I want during my scheduled time.  Also, if I happen to finish early, such as with my house section, I have the option of working on something else within the “House” from my monthly section or I can complete another task from my daily to do list.  So far, this method has been fairly easy to adapt to, and it only took a week to break the rigid method I was used to.  But this is so much better!  And I have been using my Pilot G2 Gel Pens in the rainbow of colors to complete this.

I have included this in this link to my sept-23-to-do list to make it easier to see as well.  And I hope this inspires you to try a new method for your own to do list!

Until next time,

-BBM

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