I am not a planner by nature. I like to keep my options open and not get too nailed down into any one committed path. Plus I feel if I have a plan then I am in charge and I am not so good at being in charge. As I admitted already, I used to say in college “responsibility is a four letter word.”
But natural planner or not, I am now a mom. And a wife. And with a husband who works and is also a full-time PhD student, I am the one in charge of making our house run. I don’t have much of a choice – someone’s gotta do the planning around these parts and that duty falls to me. So I started making a list everyday of what I would like to accomplish.
And boy do I love lists. There are very few things that compare to the thrill I get from crossing something off a list. Lame, I know, but true.
But here is the fun part about my lists. They are not the up-tight to-do lists of a type-A person. They are not bound by time or even realistic expectations. They are simply a brain dump of things that must happen and things that I would like to happen that day. Most importantly, having a list keeps me focused and helps me from feeling like “nothing ever gets done around here.” Throughout the day if I have a moment when I’m feeling like there’s nothing to do (haha!), I can pull out my list and see some options. If it is an especially busy day, the items on my list get numbered so I don’t forget anything/ do anything out of sequence.
Oh and I LOVE to get something extra done during the day, write it at the bottom of my list, and cross it out immediately.
So what goes on my lists?
I almost always have the following items on there:
1) Quiet time. I try and get up 20 minutes earlier than my kids to read a psalm and pray and get focused. This is usually when I write my list. Getting up early happens maybe 4 times a week so often I write my list during breakfast and read my Bible later in the day.
2) Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Because let’s face it, a girl’s gotta eat. Especially when she’s pregnant. And when there are four other mouths to feed. Usually I write down what we will eat for lunch and dinner so I know if I need to get something out ahead of time to thaw/ make it earlier in the day if it’s a crockpot meal/ remember to go meet so-and-so at such-and-such restaurant.
3) Laundry. I’ve heard the wonderful advice to do all your laundry on one day and get it out of the way for the whole week. That doesn’t work around here. We do better with a load a day. Or at least a load every other day. If all the clothes got clean at once, I don’t think we’d have the space in our drawers to store them. Best to keep some in the hamper. I’m a hyper laundry sorter (with an awesome system that I will blog about one day) so I list a certain type of load – “Reds” “Blacks” “Greys” – and get that done between the other things I’ve got going on.
4) Getting ready and getting my kids ready. Might seem like this is a no-brainer and doesn’t need to go on my list, but this accomplishes two things. First, it keeps me from staying in my pjs all day. Secondly, it’s easy to do and cross off and feel like “LOOK AT ME! It’s only 8:00 and I’ve already checked three things off my list!” Did I mention how much I love to cross off a list?
5) Something business related. I’m a Stella & Dot Star Stylist and I always have customers/ hostesses/ team members to call/ text/ email/ mail stuff to.
6) Something yucky. There are many parts about homemaking I loathe. Cleaning bathrooms, putting away laundry, switching over clothes at the beginning of a new season, dusting, etc. Putting it on my list forces me to do it. Sigh.
Things I like to put on my list but don’t always make it:
1) A Bible verse. If I read something good in the morning, I’ll put it up there so I can re-read it throughout the day and encourage myself.
2) Praying for my husband, Fix. I like to put “Pray for Fix” with the numbers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next to it. Then as the day progresses, I can remember to pray for him seven times and cross the numbers off as I go.
3) Drinking water. Just like praying for Fix, I put “H20” with numbers 1-4 next to it. This helps me continuously drink water from my big water bottle throughout my day which is good for me and good for Mickey (in utero nickname for baby #4).
4) Preschool for Lou and Gigi. I started off this school year thinking that while Rock was in school, we would do a little homeschool at home. We’d focus on a letter a week to solidify them in Louisa and Gigi’s brains. We are on letter “E” and Rock has been in school since the day after Labor Day. That shows how often I actually plan something preschool-ish into my day. Whoops.
One final note about my lists. I like to do them on paper. Sometimes I don’t write a list in the morning so I’ll type it out on my phone while I’m out and about. But, I spend far more time than I should staring at screens and if I kept track of my to-do list on my phone or my computer, I’m sure I’d get distracted by Pinterest, Facebook, emails, etc. and not get as many things done. And marking an “X” when something gets accomplished isn’t as much fun as seeing everything with a line through it at the end of the day.
So there you have it. I’m a Lister Sister. What about you? Do you make lists? Have a minute-by-minute schedule of your day? Online or on paper? Comment and tell me how you run your day.