Checking Off To-Do’s

to-do-list-padIf you are like me, you have one or two tasks that you continuously put off and add to the next day or next week’s list.  You know what I’m talking about.  There are always a few items on our lists that we just do not want to do, but when we finally do them they usually only take a few minutes and we feel so much better!

I’m a pretty organized person, but even I put off stuff sometimes.  I have to push myself to get those tasks completed.  Here are some of my strategies in doing so:

  1.  Set Up A Tickler File.  A tickler file helps you to organize your to-do’s. Once you set up a system and can trust that you WILL look into the files each day, it is a great way to assign days to your to-do’s and then forget about them.
  2. Make Time.  You MUST make time to take care of your to-do’s.  It will be difficult, and there will be a million other  obligations,  but you must carve out time to take care of your tasks so that they do not pile up.  Set an appointment with yourself each day for 30 minutes to an hour and go through your daily to-do’s and do them one by one.  If you need a longer amount of time, then maybe schedule two times during your day where you complete your to-do’s.  Then stick to it like any other appointment.
  3. Write It Down.  I have to write everything down or I will forget it.  I save so many reminders in my phone it’s almost embarrassing.  You can ask my husband.  He hears my little reminder bell go off about 50 times a day.  Sorry honey, but I cannot function without reminders.  I sometimes get caught up in what I am doing and need a reminder to get me back on track.  I either write down what I need to do and then put it in my tickler, or I set a reminder in my calendar on my computer and phone.  This then allows me to forget it for the moment, knowing I will be reminded when I need to take care of it.  That helps relieve all those floating thoughts in my head that tend to stress me out.
  4. Break It Up.  If you have a large to-do, break it up into little to-do’s and then schedule those accordingly.  When you have a big project to do it can be very overwhelming. 
  5. Delegate and Scrutinize.  If you have to-do’s that others can help you with, by all means delegate.   I think there are plenty of us that tend to do more ourselves than we actually need to.  I am one of them.  I just do not think that it might be easier to ask my husband to stop by the cleaners on his way home.  I add it to my to-do list and try to fit it in.  From time to time you need to step back and take a look at your to-do’s and see what makes sense for you to do and what makes sense for someone else to help with.  We must also scrutinize our list to make sure everything that is on it is in fact important and needs to be accomplished.   I have found items on my list that were not worth my time.  Our time is valuable.  Remember that when you are creating your list.

I hope these help in some way.  Start today and work towards getting more of your list accomplished today instead of pushing it off until tomorrow.  These are the tools I use to help myself get through my to-do list.  But most of all, it all comes down to that famous tag line we all know…..Just Do It! 

THANKFUL THURSDAY:  Today I am thankful that most of my to-do’s are accomplished today.  I still have a few to do, but it is still early!  🙂

Proper Planning

blog1I’ve always loved to make lists.  Whenever I have a lot to do, I feel the strong urge to sit down with a pen and paper and create a list.  It’s just part of who I am. 

You’ve heard the saying….”Plan your work, and work your plan”, right?  Well planning is very important, but it is only 50% of the entire task.  You must put your plan into action for it to work.

I have made a lot of lists in my life.   However, at times, I have not followed through on all the items on the list.  This is where it causes a problem.  A list is great, but it means nothing if you do not act out what is on the list. 

The same is true for acting without a plan.  Acting without a plan is like going on a road trip without a map.  You’ll either get lost, or end up somewhere you did not intend to be.  Sound familiar?  For a good portion of my young adult life, I was in this state.  I was on a life road trip without a map.   I would make a list of to-do’s, of groceries needed, of projects due, Christmas presents, etc.  What I did not make lists of, were the more important things.  Life goals, work goals, priorities, etc.  This allowed life to lead me, instead of me leading my life (with God of course). 

It’s not only important to make a plan, it’s extremely important to make the right plan.  You must have God involved in all of your plans and you must move each plan to action.  If you engage God, plan early and often, and follow through…..you will be on your way to a proactive life lived out intentionally. 

Here are my steps to successful planning (and action):

  1. Start with God – Each day spend time with God.  Read your Bible, pray, and listen (really listen) to what it is you hear God telling you or leading you to do.  Keep a journal of what you hear God tell you, and any thoughts you have after spending time with Him.  It’s great to look back over your journal and see where He has been leading you over time.
  2. Create a Life Plan – Prepare a list of the goals you have for your life. You need this as the ultimate guide to keep you focused on the most important things in your life.  You can create a Life Plan which is very helpful.  Click here to read about it on Michael Hyatt’s blog. 
  3. Check Your To-Do’s & Commitments –  Avoid planning activities or making commitments that do not in some way promote one of your goals.  Even resting can be one of your goals.   Sunday can be a planned day of rest.  That is still a life goal.  They do not all have to be related to activity.  Resting is Biblical and even God rested on the seventh day. 
  4. Break It Down – Start with a yearly list, then a monthly list, then a weekly list, and then finally break out your plan into daily to-do’s. 
  5. Modify Regularly – Once you start planning, continue to tweak and alter the plan as needed.  New goals may appear and changes will need to take place.  Life changes and so must your plans.  Remember you are creating a plan of action for your life,  but your guide is God.  If He decides a different route needs to be taken, then you must plan and follow accordingly. 
  6. Work the Plan – This is so crucial to any of this working.  If God is leading you somewhere, then follow.   To follow you must act.  You must put your plan into action and work hard!  Do not forget this part, without it you get nowhere.  Not working your plan or putting it into action is like going on a road trip with your map in hand, but no car, bus pass or airplane tickets.  You will go nowhere.  You can have the best plans, but they mean nothing without action. 
  7. Stay on Course – Continuing to stay focused on your plan, God’s leading and any changes that need to be made will help you stay on course.  Keep working at it…and you will get where God intended you to be.  It will be where you were meant to be.  Not lost somewhere without a map, or worse, without any way to get there.