I am a to do list maker. My to do list items used to be quickly scribbled on post it notes. At any given time, if you rang my doorbell and walked into my home you would find about 10 neon post it notes in varying colors stuck on my kitchen walls, appliances and counters and about 5-10 on my desk in my home office.
Then I stumbled onto this video from Fun Cheap or Free and my whole to do list making and post it note wallpapering system changed for the better. In just one easy change, I was able to double the amount of items I completed for my personal and professional to do lists throughout my day and week.
Here's how it works:
ONE NOTEBOOK & ONE PEN
You purchase one notebook and find your favorite pen. So simple. Then on one side of the notebook you write your work to do list and on the other side you write your personal to do list. As you can see above, my notebook has the left side for work and the right side for personal. I label each personal page in the top right corner with the day of the week. All to do list items in one place and you can carry it with you wherever you go and cross off items as you move through your day.
I use this medium size spiral bound notebook and these pens from Target. The paper is smooth to write on and the pens write quickly and don't smear. The notebook is the perfect size to fit in my purse or for me to just grab and take along with a clutch while I am out running errands. I have pre-purchased about 4 of my favorite notebooks and 2 sets of extra pens so I have them ready to go at all times.
FIVE MINUTES - *MOST HELPFUL TIP*
The five minute idea. My post it note system would only include "big" to do list items. Pick up the dry cleaning. Picture day at school. Church meeting.
With the five minute idea, you can quickly accomplish and cross off the smaller items on your to do list. "I have five minutes, what can I get done really quickly?" Send that overdue work email. Unload the dishwasher. Send that client invoice. Straighten up the family room. "I am sitting in the carpool line, what can I get done in the five minutes while I am waiting in the car? Let me check my notebook." Research our weekend adventure. Pin items to client moodboard. "I am running this errand, let me see if there is anything else I can get done while I am out." Mail that letter. Pick up prescription.
PLAN & LOOK AHEAD
People who are successful know what they need to prepare for on the following day. I keep my notebook on my nightstand and every night before I go to bed I move the bulldog clip and turn the page and see what is scheduled for the following day. This way there are no surprises in the morning. I wake up peacefully and calmly knowing what needs to get done.
UTILIZE NOTEBOOK & DIGITAL CALENDAR
I also have a digital calendar where I keep our family's "overview" schedule. I always cross reference the digital calendar with my to do list notebook and write in any activities that I might forgot. Example, I always add my daughter's swim lesson on Wednesday morning to my to do list notebook. Otherwise I would totally forget this activity! When I turn the page every Tuesday night, there is her swim lesson reminder and almost every Tuesday night I say "Oh my gosh, I totally forgot this!" :)
BE WILLING TO ADJUST
Let's face it, there are some days when you are just plain tired. There are days I look at my to do list and laugh. "Yeah right! I am not doing all of that today! I'm going to take a nap instead." So I simply move items over to the next day. Sometimes I have an item that makes it way from Monday to Friday, but it eventually gets done. Give yourself permission to cross off and adjust your to do list according to how you feel that day.
FREE TIME & EXERCISE
I ALWAYS schedule in free time, white space and exercise. Those activities are just as important as vacuuming the downstairs or writing that work email. Walk the dog. Journaling. A couple times I have even written down nap in my personal to do list...and crossed that baby off like a champ when I woke up!
FRI/SAT - NEVER SUNDAY
The last day of the week in my notebook looks like this "Fri/Sat." I NEVER write in Sunday. Sunday is a TOTAL day off for me and my family. I do not schedule Sundays. Period.
I have been using this notebook system for almost a year. I will NEVER go back to post it notes again. This notebook idea is so genius and I wish I thought of it! :) You will get double the amount of items crossed off your list and feel more accomplished at the end of every day. Seeing all of those items crossed off reminds me that I did ok that day. It reminds me that I was more productive than maybe I thought I was. It also helps me to see patterns of what days I am more tired and I save those days for lighter activities and scheduled free time.
Find your notebook and favorite pen and tackle that to do list like a champ!