Monday, November 29, 2010

From Post It to Categories

As you can tell I am still working to get things done in a timely fashion. Thinking I could blog 3 days in a row to finish my Getting Things Done tips that work for me has proved to not happen. Oh, I am getting things done, just not blogging!

Seeing that my toddler woke up at 4:00 a.m., climbed in bed with us, and then proceeded to toss and turn I basically could no longer sleep. Since the holidays are over and I took full advantage of the time off I figured maybe it wasn't such a bad idea I was up so early this morning to organize my to-do-list for the week.

I grabbed my sticky notes, my pen, and began to unload the mountains of things in my head! All 72 different things that need to be complete in the next couple of days! That doesn't freak me out too much since my new approach on organizing my chaos. Apparently this next step is not so amazing to some of you organized types! Talking to my sister she was desperate to know what I did next. I listened to her share what she does and said, "well, sorry to burst your bubble but you are already doing it." I guess what comes naturally to her is becoming a learned skill for me!

The next step means we want to divide the list up so it is manageable. Basically I mean we want to divide it up so we can recall the information when we can do something about it. I hate to think of things in my car that I need to do at home. Or knowing I have a list of stuff to do, only having 10 minutes before my next car run and all I can think of is needing to organize the kids closets that take much longer than 10 minutes! Or cooking dinner and thinking of the 2 bills I need to pay, only to finish dinner and then can't recall the two bills I remembered I needed to take care of today. You name it, our brains are great at holding information, too bad they don't recall that information at the most optimum time for us!

You know what I mean by saying when we are at work we think of things we need to do at home and when we are at home we think of things we need to do at work. Then you think of us stay at home moms and it's all a jumbled mess of activity overlapping being at home and being at work!

I don't know about you but I need every moment to COUNT in my day! There is no time to be sidetracked into pondering a task that cannot be completed at that time. Talk about defeating! I like to see my list be checked off one by one, not rotate in my head and never able to apply a check mark! (A check mark...the simple things in life feel so good!)

Create categories in order to put your list. Categories are those places where you need to do your list of things. For me that would be home, computer, phone calls, anywhere (living in my car), projects (anything requiring more than 2 steps to I have a phone call to make but will have to talk to my husband, then find the number, then I can make the call), someday, school, chores. You may have more categories or less. So take a moment and figure out where most of your things have to be done. Make a list that works for you. Here is the list of 6 things that stay on my to do list each and every day and then a few of the many things listed under my categories!


  • clean pantry
  • file bills
  • pay utility
  • pay phone bill
  • make grocery list
  • clean garage

@calls (list phone number with who you call so you can do it in an instant!)

  • call Susan (and I put her phone number so as soon as I can call...nothing will stop me)
  • call Bug Guy 555.5555
  • call dentist to schedule appointments 555.5555

@projects (anything requiring several things to be done in order to complete it)

  • find why hospital is charging me for a bill I already paid
  • meal plan for Christmas
  • plan birthday party

@anywhere (anything to be completed away from home)

  • return library book
  • buy light bulbs
  • return target
  • pick up party supplies
  • drop off book at church
  • ladies meeting Wednesday

@school (since we homeschool I treat school different than being at home so I can focus on it)

  • grade history
  • help 6th grader with math
  • give test to 7th grader in history
  • read with 3rd grader

@someday (anything in the future I need to plan for or think about)

  • family camping trip
  • carpets cleaned
  • senior graduation

How does this help me?

When I am in my car taking the boys to tennis I can look at my ANYWHERE list and see what I can do on the way there, while they are playing or on my return home. I don't have to make a separate trip to run errands, I make my errands fit where I want verses them taking up an entire day!

If I am at home and I have 10 minutes before I need to pick up daughter from work I can look at my HOME list and find one of those things that can be completed in that time frame. I pick pay phone bill verses cleaning the boys closet! Because we all know cleaning the boys closet will be far longer than 10 minutes!!!

I think you get the idea! Creating categories so you can pop up that list and only focus on that list when you can do something about it.

This system has been fabulous for me! Can't believe I just discovered my sister has been doing this for years!

Making my list work for me I found an iPhone app "A simple checklist app" that allows me to create these categories and then list my things to do under each one! My favorite thing to do is to check this off throughout my day! A list that typically took me 2 weeks to complete I now complete in 2-3 days! YES...I would say that has made me more productive, efficient, and a happy camper!

Later I will share how I juggle homeschooling 6 kids and still have a life! The thought of 6 kids with 5 plus subjects each, and 6 different grade levels can be incredibly confusing! I have issues at getting my own things done and now I have 6 of them to manage with a very active toddler to add more excitement!'s wild around here!

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