I’m a bit old fashioned, I openly admit it, so when it comes to technology, while I embrace it use it and rely on it in my every day life, I still can’t bring myself to use an electronic things to do list.
On my desk, I have a computer, a laptop (yes both), there’s also an iPad ready and of course my iPhone, so I’m not adverse to the benefits these tools bring to my every day life, however, among these technological tools sits my humble A5 spiral notebook. You know, the kind of notebook that isn’t fancy in anyway at all, other than the space to put a date on each page in the top right corner.
Over the years I’ve tried almost everything when it comes to a things to do list! Fancy leather bound diaries with a day-to-a-page, beautiful inspiring notebooks from gorgeous specialist stationary outlets and I’ve even tried the odd electronic to-do-list app, but nothing has compared to the simple spiral notebook.
Every quarter, usually timed with the change of seasons, I purchase myself the most basic and plain A5 notebook I can find in Woolies and I carefully write up the days of the week at the top of the page for the 90 days. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…….my OCD doesn’t let me abbreviate the days and I always habitually use a blue highlighter. It takes less than 15 mins and I find it quite therapeutic. Then I go through and date each page, usually in front of my computer so I can check every now and then that I’m doing it correctly.
Once it’s all done, I feel somewhat relaxed and on top of things for the coming season.
The way I manage my to-do list is also very basic. I literally just write down what I need to do and pick the most relevant day or date to do the task on. Anything and everything goes on the list, from personal items, errands to run, school tasks for the kids and of course my daily work tasks. While I’m no expert, I tend to fit more in my day than I think is possible, providing I follow this simple step.
A, B, C – I prioritise my tasks on the list using the ABC method, with C usually not even rating a mention. I’m too busy for C tasks and they just don’t make the list or I usually define them as a B task. I even go so far as to number each of the A, B tasks, so my list ends up looking something like this:
A3 – Call Dr for appointment
B1 – Phone air conditioning repairer
A4 – Email Mary regarding appointment
A5 – Meeting with Bob at 11am
A8 – Gymnastics with girls at 3:30pm
A1 – Email management
A2 – Facebook post for business regarding event
A6 – Follow up Peter regarding email sent 16/1
B2 – Follow up Michael regarding email sent 17/1
A7 -Call Jo to set up meeting in Feb
B3 – Check Linkedin and respond to messages
While I like to think I do it well, I usually find that some tasks are crossed out and moved to another day, however by prioritising the tasks the night before, it means I get the tougher stuff done first, meaning there’s usually little impact when I move one of the lower priority tasks.
The email management is usually my first task of the day, I clear out anything from the previous afternoon/night and then add actionable items to the list either for today (if they’re urgent) or for the following days. It means my inbox is clean and empty, reducing temptation to waste valuable time during the day and I then just check it sporadically during the day.
It’s not a perfect process and I’ve learnt over the years to remain open minded and flexible with my daily schedule, but let me assure you that this works well for me and I manage to fit a significant amount of tasks, both personal and professional into my day which I don’t believe would be possible without my trusty little A5 notebook.
Get yours today!!
NB: This article was first published on Mum’s Lounge
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