Being organized is one of the things I pride myself on being.
Probably because, for me, being organized involves lists.
Lots of them.
And you know how I much I love a list.
I first told you the story of how crazy my college to do lists were when I created and shared my first summer bucket list. Then, I made another summer bucket list the next year. And then I started making summer reading lists (you can find those here and here) and last year I even made a holiday bucket list since it was Cecilia’s first holiday season and I wanted to start oodles of new traditions.
Y’all. Someone needs to turn me into List-makers Anonymous because I have a serious problem.
The thing is, though, my lists keep me sane and, above all, organized.
In addition to lists, calendars keep me organized. Back in college and up until I had Cecilia, I had my personal calendar in Google and paper planners for work and school. I was always a fan of the weekly planners that had big open spaces for each day, rather than ones marked by the hour because I only like writing things down for a specific time in a calendar if it’s something that has to happen at a certain time (i.e. pre-scheduled appointments, classes, etc).
These days, Travis and I each have Google calendars and share them with each other. That way, we can see what each day holds for the other person and can check social invitations against the other’s calendar to see what fits our schedule. The only things I include on my electronic shared calendar are events that take place at a specific time and monthly reminders for budgeting, scheduling bills, etc.
I don’t purchase weekly planners anymore, but instead opt for a blank notebook where I write my weekly to do lists. Here’s what works for me to keep my lists and “to do” items organized.
- I write my to do list for the week on Sunday night. I set aside time after Cecilia has gone to bed and I look through my Google calendar and include any pre-planned events at the top of my to do list with the day the event is planned for in parentheses. The rest of the list is things that I want/need to accomplish that week.
- I include EVERYTHING on my to do list. Now, I don’t get too crazy with this (when I was in college I used to put “wake up” and “brush teeth” on my list because crossing things off the second I woke up made me feel good), but I do put most tasks that pop into my head on my list. Why? Because I run after a toddler all day long and can easily forget things I want to accomplish if I don’t write them down. Some of the more trivial things on my weekly to do lists is catch up on whatever Real Housewives franchise I’m watching at the moment. That may seem weird to some, but that’s my “me time” so it is a MUST on my list!
- I re-write the list when it gets too cluttered. There are weeks when my to do list can get crazy long and I don’t like messy lists, so once a lot of things start getting marked off, I re-write the list on a clean sheet of paper. This generally happens around Thursday or Friday (but can happen earlier depending on the week), so my weekly to do list becomes my weekend to do list. When I sit down on Sunday night to write the next week’s list, I take a look at what hasn’t been crossed off from the current week and add it to the next. Also, there are some crazy weeks where the lists gets re-written more than twice.
- If the list gets overwhelming, I break it down into a daily task list. There are times when we’re planning for a trip, a party we’re hosting or when we were moving, that my lists were just too insane and I have to micro-organize it into tasks I want/need to complete each day just so it feels more manageable.
- I have a separate, typed task list for cleaning and laundry. I don’t like to include cleaning and laundry on my weekly to do lists because they can really clutter it up. Instead, I have a typed up cleaning and laundry list that is taped up to our pantry door for reference. In the past, I was all for doing a big house clean on one day, but with a little one that isn’t always possible. Now, I do a little cleaning each day (except for weekends) so I’m not overwhelmed at the end of each week. On my list, there are daily, weekly and quarterly tasks. All of the weekly tasks have assigned days in order for me to keep track of what I’ve done and what I need to do (i.e. every Wednesday I clean both bathrooms and every Thursday I clean all of the mirrors and patio doors). I also have specific laundry days for each type of load I do.
So, there you have it! That’s they system I’ve honed over many years 🙂
What works for you to keep you organized? Do you have a planner? Is it all on your phone? Please share. I want to know!
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