We all have one, whether as a magnetic dry erase board on the fridge, sticky notes tacked on a bulletin board, a notepad in a drawer, or just a bunch of random items listed in a computer doc, email or on a mobile phone application.
Its been put-off, rewritten, scratched-out, torn-up and perhaps even “lost”- but it never goes away.
Known to cause personal stress, it can ruin a good weekend and perhaps even cause a tiff between partners.
Just like a bill it is one of the most expensive pieces of paper in your life that seems to continually plague you.
We have one for the grocery store, our office, kids and even finances; however, the most dreaded of all is the one we have for our home. Called many names, most often its known as the “to-do list” or even worse the “honey-do list.” Regardless, unlike the fruit this isn’t as sweet.
Ever heard the term “easier said than done”? Well that applies to many of our to-do lists. We often fill the list with complex projects we’d like to get done because it’s easy to write them all down. When it comes to committing time and effort we more often than not put the list off entirely (and come up with some good excuses for doing so). Doesn’t uttering the phrase “it’s too nice of a day to waste working indoors, let’s do __ tomorrow” sound reassuring? The problem occurs when tomorrow never comes.
What happens when the baby comes and “assemble crib” is still not checked off your list? This is when we must differentiate the “to-do” list between the “wish list.” Yes, we’d all love to paint the walls, fence, and porch, but are we capable to do so physically, skillfully, or financially? To the unorganized (I admit, I fall into this group at times) prioritization conquers procrastination. Doing so will help make your to-do list achievable and below are 3 steps for you to do just that!
1. Consolidate, Divide & Organize: First get everything onto one list, then divide the tasks by category (grocery, home improvement, chores, etc). After that, organize the tasks by relevance within each category (for some this will be by deadline, financial commitment, necessity or prerequisite).
2. Prioritize Goals & Objectives: Now, take a second look at each category and break them down into goals and objectives. Make sure each tasks is measurable and actionable.
For example, let’s say I indicated in the previous step that the task “fix bathroom” was most important. Now as my grade school English teach would say, “expand on that.” While the goal is ‘fix bathroom’ this is not very actionable or measurable. My next step would be to break this down into sub-tasks or objectives. For example, ‘fix pipe leak,’ ‘remove bathroom wallpaper.’ and ‘install new sink’ are all actionable items that can be individually completed to achieve the overall goal ‘fix bathroom.’
The second part is key: prioritize. All this takes is a bit of common sense. For example, the leaky pipe out of necessity is most important to me. By first fixing the leak, I may find that I won’t need to install a bathroom faucet after all. Now I can determine if the wallpaper was only on my list because I needed to tear out the sink or if it was more of a “wish list” item rather than necessity. The extra money I could save from not having to replace the sink may now justify the spend on the new wallpaper.
Doing things in order will not only save time and money, but enable you to achieve your goals. If I started with the wallpaper, I may have ripped out the entire sink in the process. Worse yet, the unresolved leaky pipe could have potentially resulted in a flooded bathroom floor – now adding ‘clean bathroom carpet’ to the top of my list.
3. Schedule your tasks before they schedule you! Set aside blocks of time in the middle of your day off to focus on only knocking out a few items from your “to-do” list. Planning ahead will not only allow for preparation and self-motivation, but you can diligently balance work with leisure. There are a couple things to consider with this thought: be realistic and flexible. If you know something usually takes you twice as long as anticipated, account for that. Don’t overload yourself with tasks. Likewise if you complete your list faster than you think, don’t dive into another big task. Allow yourself break-time and using leisure as a reward for a job well done. 🙂
By now you get, if not, just make like you do. Now you’re asking yourself whether or not you still have that superhero cape from your childhood, keep in mind that you are not Superman. Some jobs are better left to the professionals. Let ServiceLive connect you with a service expert in your area. Now you can sit back and relax and enjoy the day!