How to Write a To-Do List
You'd think it'd be easy as sitting down with pen and paper, but a proper To-Do List has focus and more importantly an "end date".
I love to-do lists. For one, it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I cross something off the list, but it also keeps me on target so I don't waste time doing something tangential.
If you're like me, you probably have a dozen things at any moment that either distract, worry, or interrupts what you should be doing.
But I'll give you my favorite trick for getting something done--especially if it's something I don't want to do.
I do it for exactly fifteen minutes. I can do anything for fifteen minutes. Why this works though is because once you get started you'll discover one of two things. Either the dreaded project takes less than fifteen minutes, or you're so involved that you don't want to quit. Either scenario gets the job done.
My average to-do list usually revolves around stuff I need to do around the homestead. It can be anything from putting up fence, shoveling dirt, or killing chickens. None of these are in my favorites category.
Add to that, we have to do these projects in no more than three hours because it gets so very hot here. If we can't get it done by 9am, we stop where we are and pick up the next day. The heat is just too unbearable right now. If it's a nice day, we can work all day, but we have at least a couple more months of melt weather.
Here are my top eight tips for building a successful to-do list.
- List in order of priority.
- Jot down how much time you think it will take. Sometimes if everything can get done in one day, I write down when I think each job should get done.
- After priority, list chores in order of difficulty. I like to tackle the harder jobs first when I have the most energy.
- If you're procrastinating, talk yourself into doing the dreaded chore for exactly fifteen minutes.
- Write down more than you think you can accomplish in one day. I find if something happens to knock out one of my planned chores, it's nice to substitute something else that needs to get done.
- Always write a list when you feel you're not getting any traction in your life. Seeing it on paper gives you direction.
- Work around your elements. If you have children knock out your to do list when they're napping or otherwise occupied. If, like me you're at the mercy of the weather, suck it up and get your chores done when the weather is good. You might not get your chance again for a while.
- Give yourself a reward. I'm not reward driven, but if I know I can sit back and watch my favorite movie (and possibly take-out) I'll be doubly motivated to get my work done.
I have a ton of things to do right now. It's embarrassing. Mostly we're hamstrung by the weather and we have to work as weather permits.
So what's on our list this week? The top chores revolve around finishing the fence around the second garden, mowing, weeding, harvesting (ongoing!) and cleaning pens. (That's only the outside list!) We've got some substantial tractor work in our future, but we can't start that until we finish this stuff.
It's always something. I just wish it didn't have to happen in the middle of summer.
How about you? What's pressing on your to-do list?
Note: I haven't decided yet, but I might take a few weeks off after this post. I've got so much produce to process and canning is the most time consuming chore of all.