I sat here this morning with my brain on overdrive, going through my virtual TO DO list in my head, thinking of all the many things I have to get done.
Some of these things are urgent, some are not, but its easy for my mind to get overloaded and then I end up doing nothing but think about the best way forward.
Good time management? I think not!
Most of us have busy lives, with work, social, leisure, family, friends, hobbies and much more, taking it out of you each week.
To remember everything that needs doing is a feat in itself, and having ad hoc lists won’t help anyone as they are likely to get lost and things missed anyway.
What’s needed is a fail safe plan to get things done in a timely and organised and STRESS FREE way.
The Master TO DO list
The absolute best thing I can suggest for you is to have somewhere to place everything that you have to do, so that you can really prioritise and scrutinise it without it taking over your life.
If you continue down the path of doing what needs to be done at that specific time, then you may never make it towards your goals, and will feel that you are working hard for nothing.
That’s where a MASTER TO DO list comes in.
Many people write a TO DO list each day, week or month, or even one for work, one for home etc… but find that these can be very ineffective at getting the job done.
Its almost as if you think to yourself that if you write on todays TO DO list a list of items, that it will all definitely happen today. Not so.
The real trick is to use your TO DO list (only 1 – otherwise you will start to confuse yourself) in conjunction with your DIARY, scheduling in tasks in appropriate time slots, and within required time restraints and deadlines.
The absolute quickest way of doing this is as follows:-
1. Brain dump everything you have to do
Brain dump everything you can think of that needs doing onto a sheet of paper – irrespective of whether its a work task, family task, home task etc… ANYTHING that you have in your head that needs to be done should be noted down.
You should already feel a little better to have got this out of your head at last (or off those many lists you have been using up to now!)
2. Group like items together
Group items together (like with like i.e. home related, family related, social related, work related etc…)
3. Will it get you towards your goals?
Ensure that only tasks that get you toward your goals, or that are crucial to the smooth running of the home are on this list. If there are others then the likelihood is that they are never going to be important enough to do anyway, or if you do do them, they will take up your valuable time that you could have been using so much better elsewhere. Cross out any superfluous tasks.
4. Prioritise your TO DOs
Write all the TO DO’s down in their groups (in priority order), and for each one create a column for ticking off when done, a column for who in the home needs to do it, and a column for how long it will take. This is now your MASTER TO DO LIST
5. Where to keep your MASTER TO DO list
Keep this in a central place (ideally your HOME FILE) where you and the family can add tasks as they come up.
6. Keep your TO DO list updated
Weekly (ideally) go through and add into your diary as many of the TO DO’s as you can in any time you may have – starting with the top priority and taking into account the time they will need to get done. Scheduling in your TO DO’s means you are much more likely to keep on track with them, and having 1 place for your TO DO list means you will feel more in control about what needs to be done and when.
Please note that this method means that any TO DO’s with a deadline should be placed in your diary in the right timescale to get it done – so you won’t be late with things again, and this should leave you feeling much more stress free.
Ongoing, anything that has a date should really go straight into your diary, and anything that can be done at any time can go on your TO DO list.
As your TO DOs become more urgent, they will go up the list and then be placed into your diary.
Also – you can use your master TO DO list to break larger tasks up into smaller ones – that way you will be able to fit in smaller bits of work that still bring you towards your goals i.e.
- Get memorabilia albums for everyone in the family sorted out
- Collate all pictures, cards, artwork etc… for each person
- Decide on which pieces you are going to keep
- Purchase albums with enough space for what you want to keep
- Complete person A’s album
- Complete person B’s album
Try it and let me know how you get on! I have also always used this for my way of working at work (or when working from home) and it has proven time and again that it really works. You always know where you are with things!
Extra tips to use your MASTER TO DO list:-
- If something is scheduled and isn’t done, but does still need doing then move it back to the master to do list
- Don’t try and schedule all your time each day – as things can take a lot longer to complete that you expect, or unexpected things can draw on your time as well
- Understand that priorities change, so review your master to do list each month to ensure everything on it is still applicable