Thursday, July 11, 2013

Much Ado about To-do

to do lists

Who loves lists???
I'm working through Sarah Mae's 31 Days to Clean, and Day 6 includes a hint about lists. This got me thinking about to-do lists.
  I love to-do lists, and when I was in the work force, I never went a day without one. And as a SAH, I still make lists sporadically.
Of course, a list is a great tool, but if your to-do list has become your biggest source of stress, that's bad!
Believe it or not, the list itself may be causing your stress, and not the items on it.
Here's a few helpful ways to combat list worries:
Get Techie
If you've been using the standard paper-and-pencil method religiously for years, it's time for a new leaf. Try an app such as Wrike or Good Todo. If you're too attached to a physical list, try keeping a document saved on your desktop that you update and print out daily. You can dress it up with graphics and fonts to get you motivated.
Luck of the Draw
luck of the draw
This is a fun method I use for completing chores. It's great to use with kids, too!
    • Write each item on a separate slip of paper, and put the slips in a basket or bowl.
    • Draw one slip, complete the item, and discard.
    • Repeat until you're all done!
Use highlighters or light colored markers to mark off list items instead of pen or pencil. This way, you can see the items you've completed, and you end up with large blocks of color that signal to your brain that you've accomplished more than you have.
The Ten Rule v1.0
This method works better when used for longer periods of time-- like a week-- rather than day-to-day.
    • Make a list of the top nine things you need to accomplish this week.
    • At number 10, write something fun & rewarding like getting a mani/pedi or taking the kids out for ice cream.
    • The trick is, obviously, to complete all ten things in order.
The Ten Rule v2.0
 Like with version 1.0, use this over a week or a few days, or for even longer term goals or time consuming projects. You'll need two separate lists for this method.
    • Make a list of ten things you want to accomplish. This could be cleaning out your garage or plotting a new flower bed. Title this "List One."
    • Pick one item or goal that's really exciting to you, say, shopping for a new piece of furniture for your home. Mark this item off List One, and put it on List Two. If you like, you can replace the marked off item with something else, so long as it's not as exciting to you as what you just moved to List Two.
    • You can now complete List One in any order you want, but must complete the entire list before moving on to write and begin work on List Two.
    • Keep the cycle going as long as you can! It's a neat way to challenge yourself to complete all those projects you never get around to doing.
trash basket

Throw it away, throw it away, throw away it, now
 That's right. Throw away your to-do list for at least one day. Trust me. If it's important, you'll most likely remember it without the list. Without a list as your taskmaster, you'll have the time and space to be creative and play. You may feel a totally lost at first, but just let yourself enjoy the freedom. If you see something that needs done, like laundry, do it! If you see something that looks enjoyable, like baking a cake, go for it! You'll alleviate a lot of guilt that comes from spending time on things that aren't "on the list." If this works for you, try and work without a list for a few days. I did, and I haven't made a list in over a month!
How do you work with to-do lists? Are you better on- or off-list? Leave a comment!