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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Does Your To Do List Work For You?

 
I live and die by my "to do" list! I cannot imagine being without one ... mine runs seven days a week. I list the things that I need to do each day, in the order in which they can most easily be accomplished. I keep it in a spiral bound diary that sits right by my computer. I am thinking about keeping my iPhone by my computer too, as I use the apps quite often. If this works out, I could use the notes function, or the reminder function for my list. Or I may see what kind of apps they have out there for this. 

Why is this list so important? Because, like most people, I am doing things in my life that are not related to any other part of my life. I might have a tele-class here, a webinar there, reviews to be done from multiple sources, blogs to get out, and projects to be worked on ... including my personal writing. I take my mother to her appointments, her dog to the groomer ... all of life's little things run on schedules of their own. 

To do lists come in many forms - electronic file, hand written (Day Timer, Calendar, three ring binder), or as part of a calender function (such as the Google calendar). We can color code our list (one for work, one for this project, one for that project, one for home, one for personal ... the list is endless), use post it reminders ... anything and everything that we can think of to remind us on what we need to get done, and when we need to get it done. 

I put my list together by time of day (business calls can only be done during business hours), and the priority for the task. If something doesn't get done (which is rare), I don't necessarily push it into the next day. I look at my entire week to see where it best fits in. I also try to make my list sensible ... in other words, a list that I can actually accomplish. If there are too many "have to get done" things, and they all do "have to get done", I start looking at those that really don't have to get done (at least don't have to get done right away). I try to  make my list realistic. That doesn't always work ... there are days when I feel like I work 25 hours a day, and still things are left undone. I am working on that! ;-)

To be effective, list your to do items as action steps - i.e. "Call to reschedule appointment", as opposed to "call so and so", or "X's office". Deal with one item at a t ime. I love crossing off items, and will sometimes do an item out of sequence, if I know that it won't take me very long. The feeling of crossing it off my list is worth it!

We all have days when our to do lists are out there making to do lists! Take a short time out, relax, then go back to your list with renewed energy. You are in charge of the list, the list is not in charge of you!

(c) 2000 - 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction in any venue prohibited without written permission of the author.

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