Is your To-Do List overwhelming you? Is it just never-ending? We have all been there, when what we need to do seems insurmountable and our time or energy or desire just don’t match the list. Here are your basic techniques to conquer that To-Do List!
Write (or type) it down
You need to clearly see what needs to be done. Write down your tasks in any way you want as they come to mind. Don’t worry about organizing it, just get the ideas down. Once I write down my list I can see how I can work smarter, and combine some tasks, or group them together in a way that makes the most sense. Also, it helps me from forgetting something. Sometimes I even “cheat” and write down a task that is almost done or that I just completed so that I can cross it off right away and get those good vibes going.
Prioritize and plan
Now that you have your list you need to make the list work for you. Now is when you rewrite the list in the order of importance, the order that you will work on it, and figure out if there is anything that others can help you with.
For example, I may decide that dinner prepping tomorrow’s meal isn’t a huge priority but since I need to grocery shop before making today’s dinner I might as well get the groceries for the next few days. Moreover, while I brown the ground beef for shepherd’s pie tonight, I can brown up extra for tomorrow’s dinner, too. It may add a couple minutes to my day today, but saves me a half hour tomorrow (shopping, cooking, and cleaning).
Having a plan (of attack) is one of the most important things. Once you have this plan to work smarter not harder, you can just work your way through accomplishing so much! But be sure to build in a buffer of time for some tasks that won’t be as simple as you expect or for the new tasks that pop up (homework help ever suddenly take up two hours of your day??). Also, build in some decompression time too. If you work your butt off and end up exhausted to just fall behind again, no one wins.
Ok, I am terrible at this one. I hate to ask someone to help and have them leave it unfinished or leave me in a lurch. But really, any help is better than no help. Also, how many things can’t be done differently than how I do them? So, I try to delegate out small tasks that add up to a lot. For example, I may have a ginormous task of cleaning the basement on my list, but I can decide to have: my son return all the bottles and cans, my other son empty the woodstove’s ashes, and my daughter bring the laundry up (bonus points for folding and delivering it!). None of these are hard tasks, but none were tasks that I, personally, needed to attend to.
It may sound silly, but you need to take a little time after working through your list to see what worked and how to streamline for the future. Plan your days realistically, so you have long term systems and solutions in place. If you start always making double batches of meals (or portions of meals) those few extra minutes of work save you a bunch of time going forward. If you want to avoid the dumpster decor in the basement pile-up, how can you stay more on top of it going forward? Always seem to be behind on the dishes, can you run the dishwasher while you sleep and get a head start on the next day?
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What tips do you have for streamlining your tasks?
What is the biggest challenge of your to-do list?