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Monthly Archives: AUGUST 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009


posted by Taxcell at  20:19 || under General Organizing Tips


Creating Effective "To-Do" Lists

There are thousands of programs, apps and opinions on how to handle your list of to-do's. Many are good,some are justtoo detailedanda fewactually work for those of us who are naturally disorganized.

I want to show you how I've worked through this issue in my life and hope that it will help you tocomplete your list of to-do's.

First off, I don't have an actual to-do list. For many naturally disorganized people, "to-do's never get ta-done!" If I need to do something, it must be an appointment on my calendar with a specific amount of time or it will never get accomplished; no matter how small or large, it's an appointment, not a to-do.

EX: I wake up and realize I need to accomplish a couple of thingsin addition to the client I already have scheduled.

1. appointment with a client (project)

a. get directions

b. bring organizing bag

2. need towrite my newsletter (project)

a. get my list of random newsletter thoughts

b. add new clients to email list

c. compose newsletter

d. email it

3. need to get groceries (project)

a. create basic meal plan (no obsessing!)

b. print coupons (if you use online coupons sites)

Important - make sure you don't create a list of "projects"! You must break down projects into a list that can be accomplished one at a time. In the above example, the numbers are projects and the letters are the list of "to-do's".

I add the "to-do"s to my calendar based on how much time it'll take to accomplishthat item (you can use paper or electronic).

8:00-8:30 print directions to client/address for gps,

load organizing bag in car

make meal plan

print grocery coupons

8:30-9:00drive to client

9:00-1:00 Organizing Session with _________

1:00-1:30 drive back to town to grocery store

1:30-3:00 grocery shop - unload and put away!

3:00-4:00 upload newest clients to newsletter list

collect notes for newsletter

compose newsletter and send

I use Outlook and sync with my iPhone, but you can be successful using a paper calendar and address book just as well as any electronic form of contacts and calendar.

By making appointment for allmy to-do's, I don't find myself at the end of the day saying, "oh man! i forgot toget/do/buy __________!!"

By making appointments on my calendar, I'm free to schedule items on the day and time most convienent for me.
By making appointments instead of long to-do lists, I actually get things done and no guilt hangs over my head!
By making appointments for me first, I am ready to respond to requests from the people in my life. I can say honestly, "I'm sorry, I don't have available time Wednesday, but Thursday will work".

By making appointments instead of a long list of

to-do's, I get things done on time, I don't forget items and appointments and I can smile at the end of the day at all I accomplished!

Enjoy getting your to-do's to-done!!

(many thanks to Deb Golembeck for helping me with that "aw-ha" moment when she realized my to-do list was filled with projects! That day will forever change how effective I am in accomplishing important things!)
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As a Certified Professional Organizer I desire to share ideas and tools to assist anyone who desires to increase productivity in their home or office.