In response to my last post about planners, a friend had asked me about how I manage my To-Do list(s). Since I'm always looking for ideas for the blog, I thought I'd make a post out of it instead of emailing her my response :)
First let me start by saying that this year I changed our general calendar around. With Ms 18 yo being in college, it seemed to add another dimension to our busyness, so I got one of these this year:
It hangs in the kitchen and is right there where everyone can see it. I used to keep a weekly calendar on my desk where everyone could see it, but since we've moved here, my desk isn't in the kitchen anymore, so it made the family calendar a little less accessible to everyone (meaning they had to walk farther to look at it :) I love being able to see the entire month at once. It really helps me to get the big picture and plan things out better. I wish I had done it sooner.
I also decided that I can't stand electronic calendars! I really tried to use the calendar on my phone, but I hate not being able to flip the pages. I know that sounds weird, but I'm sure some of you out there can understand what I mean. I need to physically flip through the pages (whether they be the month pages or the week pages) of my calendar. It helps me sort things out.
So, to that end, I bought myself a small daily planner and I leave that on my desk. I can flip to my heart's content now, and it is still small enough to fit in my purse so I can take it with me when I need to set appointments. Yes, I have to remember to copy the information onto the big family calendar, but I'm okay with that.
So what about the To-Do list? Well, how I handle my To-Do list varies depending on how busy I happen to be. If it is a relatively slow time, then I will just jot down in my planner what needs to be done on the day that it needs to be done. I usually write things down as I think of them, but at night I'll make a mental run-through of the next day to make sure that I didn't forget anything.
If it happens to be a busy time for us, I will take a piece of paper and just start writing down all of the things that I will need to do for that week. As I think of them, or as they come up, I just add them to the list. Then, I go back and, if possible, assign a day of that week on which I am going to accomplish them. For example, if we have a big party coming at the end of the week, my list might look like this:
dust house (W)
go to WalMart (TH)
go to Sam's (TH)
get haircuts (T)
bake cake (F)
frost cake (S)
cut grass (F)
clean basement (T)
clean bathrooms (S)
set up tables and chairs (S)
make the food (F, S)
clean up the yard (TH)
Each day I scan the list and do what I need to do. Once an activity is done, I cross it off. I've had lists that are a full page long, but it makes it much easier to manage when I organize my tasks this way. I also find that once I write it down, I don't have to give it much thought until it is time to do it.
I hope that helps! I'm always looking for new organizing ideas, so if I missed something that seems obvious to you, please share it with the rest of us!