Quick Tip Tuesday
Using Lists

My tip for today seems simple at first, but it can really be a life saver. What is it you ask?-- !LISTS! -- Making lists can not only organize your thoughts and motivate you, but it can be fun and inspire you to do more with your day.

When I take time to make a list for the day it helps me remember all the important things I want to get accomplished, and I am less likely to get distracted by all the interruptions today's technology has to offer. It also motivates me to get more of the items on the list completed. If I write something down, I can look at it all throughout the day. I also have to see that list at the end of the day. Anything I didn't get done is still on that list for tomorrow. Being able to check off 8 items on a list feels better than only checking off two or three.

In order to make your lists more enjoyable, here are some quick tips!
  • Start Positive - Always start your list with something you have already done that day. Even if it is something as simple as "brush my teeth" it will make you feel good to check something off the list right away.  
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  • Break It Down - Break your tasks into small, manageable pieces. Instead of saying "clean the living room" you could say "vacuum the floor", "dust the furniture", "pick up toys" and other small parts of the task. This way you won't feel so overwhelmed, and it will seem like you are getting a ton accomplished. 
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  • Make It Do-Able - Longer lists, with smaller tasks are better than short lists containing big projects.   
  • Prioritize - Organize the tasks on your list according to when you want them done. For example, have categories such as : by lunchtime, by the end of the day, by the end of the week etc. You can do this by color-coding, using letters A,B, C etc. next to items, using symbols like stars and circles next to tasks, etc. The possibilities are endless. Get creative. The point is to fit things into the appropriate time-frame. 
  • Have Fun - Include fun things on your lists. A common myth of to-do lists is that they are lists of chores. This is absolutely NOT true. You can totally include "get a latte" on your list! 
  • Make It Visible - Last, but most important, keep your list somewhere you will SEE it! A list of things to do is no good to you if you only look at it once. Put it on a whiteboard, your phone's background, a sticky-note on the side of your monitor, a brightly colored piece of paper on top of your desk--wherever you will be reminded of the things you need and want to do. 
If you use these tips and adjust the system to your own lifestyle, you can become a lot more organized and find time to do the things you love. Don't beat yourself up if you don't get all of the items on your list accomplished in one try. The beauty of lists is that you wrote it down, so you can see it again tomorrow! Part of the importance of lists is just taking the time to think about your day ahead of time. Don't be too hard on yourself, don't expect to be great at it on the first try, and have fun with it!

This wasn't a very "quick" tip, but I hope it was a helpful one. Even if you didn't learn anything new, I hope it motivates you to give lists another try. They can be a lifesaver!

2 comments:

Erebus Bat said...

Kara,

I use http://tadalist.com/ for my ToDos.... it is not super fancy but very clean cut and easy to use. Plus it works great on my phone so I always have my list with me.

Kara said...

That must be the awesome program you were telling us about! Someday when I have a cool, useful phone I will absolutely use this all the time. Thanks for sharing!