Make and use a to-do list.
Do you make to-do lists? I do. In fact, I LOVE them! Creating a to-do list helps me to focus throughout the day and gives me a sense of organization. With my to-do list in hand, I am free from all the disorganized thoughts that were cluttering up my mind. I am able to accomplish more tasks since my mind isn't busy thinking about the 100 things I need to do on that day. So, now that you know that you NEED a list. Let's talk about how to CREATE a list.
1. Prioritize! It may help you to develop some sort of ranking system for your to-do list. Certainly every item on the list can't be equally important. You can even use a number system and rank them from 1 to 5. Items ranked 1 might have a lower priority, while the 5's are tasks you should attend to first. My number 1's everyday are packing my daughter's lunch, prepping lunch/dinner, and bus pickup. My number 5's are things like an extra job around the house (baseboards, dusting, organizing closets - basically something that can wait for another day if I am not able to get it done). Writing this blog was a "3".
2. Give each item a time specification! Knowing how long each task will take is helpful as well. If you have 15 minutes to spare, find something on the list that will take that amount of time and get to it. Believe me, all those 15-minute chunks can really add up to something huge. At the end of the day, you'll be surprised how much you've accomplished in small increments.
3. Don't Over-schedule! If your to-do list is too rigid, it simply won't be effective. You 100% NEED to include some flexibility and breathing room into your day. Try not to jam pack your day with unreasonable goals or else you'll be at risk of disappointment.
4. Add in Something Fun! Your to-do list is probably like mine: full of things of which you might not be looking forward to with glee. That's why listing both fun activities and tasks is a great idea. When you write down a fun item, it doesn't feel like work - it may even feel like a break. When you return to the less desirable items, you'll be more motivated to actually get them done. For example, I write down "Just Dance" onto my list everyday (the video game - I don't just dance around the house...well, maybe I do but that's beside the point...)
5. Organize it! Your to do list needs to be organized in a way that makes you feel comfortable. With all the technology out there, you have a vast array from which to choose. I know a lot of people use their iCal application for keeping themselves in check. As for me, I'm an old-fashioned pen and paper girl. That is what works best for me.
Check back in here and let me know if you started creating and using to do lists. Or, if you already do, tell me about how YOU organize yours...