Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Doing a To-Do List...

There are times in my life where I feel like my head is swimming... swimming with all the things I need to do... post father-in-laws birthday present, hang out washing, fill in form, make up Ava's food for the week, take Ava to doctors, answer outstanding emails, deep clean bathroom, re-cover dining room chairs, book swimming lessons... I live in a state of fear that I'll forget something, which is why my "to do" list has literally become one of my most prized possessions... not because I get everything on it done, not because it plans out my day to the final second, but because it stops me freakin' out that I'm going to forget to do something!

My To-Do list is done in three layers... and I literally stole it COMPLETELY from the girl talk girls at www.girltalkhome.com . They have a whole series under there Resources section called Series PDFs - The Highly Effective Woman... well worth a read. I've been using their method for about 5 years now, and it is truly brilliant. I love it. 

Let me just re-iterate, before I go on. To-Do lists are not there to rule our lives... only God can do that effectively... they are there to serve us, and the minute they start to rule, something's gone wrong!!!

Anyway... three layers...

Layer 1: The Ultra-To-Do-List
At the beginning of the week, normally early Monday morning, I check over my ultra to do list... this is a seriously long, ever-growing, ever-adapting list of every possible thing that I want to achieve with things like book dentist appointment, conference emails, hoover whole house, Tesco online shop, Fruit and Veg order, plan meals, deep cleans, re-vamp larder, cut Ava's nails, return library books... it is literally everything! It is the list that takes the burden off my brain and stops me having to remember everything. It is in NO order, and is a complete mess as things are constantly being crossed off and some things stay on there forever (like hoover whole house... the minute I've done it, I'm planning to do it again!) This is not some beautifully creative masterpiece... it's scrappy, ever-changing and real!

Layer 2: The Daily To-Do-List
Every morning, after my quiet time, I whip out my crazy, scrappy ultra-to-do-list and figure out what things are top of my priority list for that day... what do I want to achieve? If something on my ultra list is a big project, I might break it down into small pieces and tackle one piece of it each day. I try to be realistic. I'd rather have a spare half hour and manage to do something extra (or just use that half hour to chill out and do something I want to do, rather than something I need to!), than be three things behind schedule at the end of the day. That's just depressing. 

Layer 3: Daily Schedule
Once I've worked out what I want to do that day, I put it into a time-frame -  I have found this to be the most-effective way of ensuring I get it done...However, I need to be realistic with a 5 month old baby. At the moment, she has three naps a day and I utilise this time as best as I can... what can I achieve in 45 minutes? I try to make sure one of her wake slots is purely for her; reading to her, playing with her, singing etc, rather than just living in a whirlwind of activity around her. That doesn't serve her in any way. Similarly, I do try to do some housework/errands while she's up and about... I want her to learn to amuse herself and not be reliant on my attention all the time, but that's another issue... I used to do my scheduling on the laptop, but these days I just write it out on a piece of paper...

I've no idea if this will help anyone... as I said before, its good to share what works, right? And I take absolutely NO credit for this way of doing things... I've nicked it straight from the Mahaney girls! But as I'm trying to "seize the day" for God at the moment... organising my day to day in this way helps me to prioritise effectively and therefore to do what I can to honour him as I go about life as a homemaker!

Happy planning!

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