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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

3 Ways to Tame your To Do List

Yesterday I bounded out of bed excited to start my day!  Why?  Because it was my first real day of no longer working for someone else!   Oh oh the excitement!  I shared in a previous post that my last day as an Employment Specialist was June 30.   That was followed by a week long, much needed,  "staycation" for my Sweet William and I.   We did a few things here and there around the house,  went to an Estate Sale, a couple of Garage Sales, and an Antique Store or two.  Just hung around each other ...  it was nice.  I purposefully took the week off too so I wouldn't get all aggravated trying to establish a new routine with SW hanging around, I do know myself.  The week off had to end and yesterday he went back to work. I was left to myself and my much anticipated To Do List!  

It is long!  I've been working outside of my home for most of our 34 years of marriage.  I have been blessed with many children and grandchildren, have a side hobby (soon to be business),  and we've all been very involved at church!   Needless to say there is a lot of stuff to get caught up on around here. That was one of my main reasons for wanting to "come home."  First I want to clean my house.  It needs to be de-cluttered.  Everywhere.  From the closets and cabinets to the garage and basement.  Did I say Everywhere?  

Looking at that list was overwhelming to say to the least.  I wanted to put it down and sew something instead!  But after a few minutes of focusing on my list I broke it down by doing these 3 things:

1.   Prioritizing - duh, right?  No really.   What needed to be done first. Today, this week, this month. Take my office space for instance:  Pay the bills before trying to organize the paperwork that has piled up.   Yes in some cases it meant going through the piles to find the bill. Most of my bills are paid online anyway but there are few occasional bills that aren't.  Getting the bills paid today will make it easier to FOCUS on shredding, filing and organizing my office space without the pressure of looming deadlines. The goal is to work at it 15 - 20 minutes a day for a week and it should be in pretty good shape.   Then a few minutes everyday should keep the clutter from growing out of control.   I'm applying this principal to the other areas as well.   In the kitchen I have made a menu, shopping list, and did the shopping.  Why?  So while I'm busy de-cluttering the house I only have to take a few minutes in the morning to see what's for dinner and take meat out of the freezer if that applies.   Just knowing what you're going to make is half the battle.  Prioritizing.  What absolutely must be done now to keep you from getting stressed out?  Phone calls? Appointments to make? Errands to run?  Does one thing have to happen before you can begin another?   When does it have to be done?  Today, this week, this month?   Put it in your planner, on your calendar or whatever system you are using to keep track of life.  Yes you should be using something.  

2.  Group things that are alike or in close proximity to each other - Huh?  You'll see.   Back to my office space.  On my to do list is to balance my checkbook, spend 15 minutes de-cluttering my desk, and write a blog post.  These things can/should happen at my desk.   Also on my list for today is to water the plants, deep clean master bathroom, start clearing out the garage, 10 minute pick-up in the living room, dining room, and my room and do a load of towels.   It wouldn't make sense to run up an down the stairs from one task to another.  Instead I did what could be done at my desk, followed by picking up my bedroom (they are in the same room) then do a little deep cleaning in the master bath.  I then went down to the living room/dining room and picked up there, watered the plants and spent 15 minutes working in the garage.   See the picture?  It's not so hard if we organize ourselves.   It's like when you run errands. If you have to go to the bank, the post office and the grocery store you plan your trip so you're not spending too much time driving.  I did a lot of driving in my last job.  I planned out most of my trips before I left the office to make the best use of my time and gas.   It just makes sense.  (Except if you have teenagers who need want to go places, they don't understand this.)  

3.  Delegate - Oh Yeah!  If somebody else can do it, they should.  It's okay if they don't do it like you would, it's getting done and that is a blessing.    I had on my list today to wash a load of towels.   J was just watching TV so I had her do that.  And dry them.  And fold them.  And put them away.  That is important - follow it through so you're not surprised by mildew-y towels in the washer in a couple of days.  Yes she had already done her assigned chores (which is the master list of delegation!) Can someone else water the plants?  Can someone else make dinner?  Score!  That's always welcome.  I know I am not super woman, I can't and shouldn't do everything myself.  I will burn out fast and then not be very pleasant to be around.   I have plans.   And in order for my plans to come around, I have to tame my to do list.  I can't let it get the best of me.  It will go where I want it to go, as fast or as slow as I want it to go.  

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