Taking Care of Business

Have you ever had a to-do list piled a mile high?

Raise your hand with me cause I know you have.

I regularly feel like there are about a thousand things that need to get done. I’m sitting here in my living room with Dobby the House Corgi on my feet (he’s a good foot warmer), and all I can think about is how I should eat, get my vacuum out and get the floors vacuumed.

Well, that’s not all I can think about. My bathroom is a mess, and my dishwasher is full of clean dishes that need to be taken out and put away so I can start that whole process again. I have loads of things I could be putting in to the washing machine right now. And my extra bedroom? Let’s just say it’s a complete and total disaster area.

My to-do list seems like it’s typically a never-ending list of cleaning that needs to get done. I sprinkle in a bit of fun here and there, like writing on my novel, doing a Pilates routine, working on something crafty, and cooking delicious food. But it gets a bit disheartening to just list it all out in one long list that seems to have fewer check marks than it has items every time I turn around.

About a month ago, I started a class by a woman who runs the website Little Green Dot. It’s a health and wellness website that has lot of great information, so feel free to go check it out (after you finish reading the post here). Anyway, Militza ran a free course on How To Become A Morning Person that I subscribed to and got so much out of. The course is closed now, but I’m sure she’ll do a third round if you’re interested and go to the above link to sign up for the wait list.

One of the tips that I really got the most out of from her course was about the infamous to-do list.

We all have them, but taking care of them is another matter for some of us (read: me). Her tip was simple and is probably one you’ve seen before, but I’m going to present it here and share how I’ve used it these last few weeks.

The Tip: Write down your top three things on your to-do list every morning. 

Obviously some of us are not morning people, so the morning might become the afternoon or even evening. The principle is the same. If you have a mile-high to-do list, you’re going to get the most out of it if you simply choose your battles, so to speak. Pick the top three things you want to accomplish each day and write them down somewhere.

Why do you write them down? I’ll tell you why I do it. I’m more likely to do my to-do list if it’s written down and I feel the need to check it off. There’s that sense of accomplishment every time I put a check mark by an item.

Why three things? I think three things are more doable in our busy, packed lives. We’re all running from place to place, working for hours on end, and running on empty that trying to fit too much on our plates would lead to getting none of it done. Three things can simplify the process, get us started on daily tasks to accomplish, and help boost our confidence.

My method for this is fairly simple. I have a planner I use for this purpose. When I’m being good, I’ll write down my list daily of three top things to accomplish. By the end of the day, I’ll review my list and check off the things I’ve accomplished. Writing it down reinforces the list so I remember it more, and I tend to feel more like it’s my personal list instead of something that’s an expectation from an outside source.

One thing I’ve also learned is that choosing three things doesn’t mean I have to choose three tasks I hate. I like to choose a mix of things that need accomplishing (i.e. cleaning the kitchen, washing laundry, writing lesson plans for the next week) and things I enjoy doing (i.e. writing on my novel, doing a Pilates workout, walking the dog around the complex three times). With a mix of fun and “chore” type things, I’m more likely to take ownership of getting things done around the house and enjoy doing it at the same time.

What about you? Do you enjoy your to-do list? Do you break it into smaller chunks?

– RaeNezL