Occasionally, readers contact me with their particular organizing questions. In this case, one reader is struggling with lists and trying to find a method that would encapsulate all of her tasks for her home and home office. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately since I live by lists personally and professionally. I get great satisfaction from feeling grounded but love crossing off a task once it’s been completed. Depending on how much time you want to devote to list making, here are a few options:
1) Plain and Simple Paper Lists – If contained in a pad, they’re portable for shopping but can get a little messy once you start crossing off chores. Paper also contributes to paper waste so if you go this route, I encourage all lists to be recycled when they have outlived their use.
2) For those who use PDA’s or iPhones, I believe there are apps for list making. Or you can type up the list in Word or Excel and then sync the document to your device. With this method, every time a change is made, it will be updated automatically when you sync up.
Along these lines, www.lifehacker.com has written some great advice on this very topic as quoted below:
Many of us walk around with mini-computers/digital cameras in our pockets thanks to smartphones, and we can use them to bypass paper entirely. Instead of jotting your grocery shopping list on a scrap of paper, use Gmail Tasks, Remember the Milk or your list manager of choice on your phone. Transcribe whiteboards to PDF or even fax documents using previously mentioned Qipit. Also, popular note-taking application Evernote makes it dead easy to capture ideas, lists, and notes without killing a single tree.
Whatever method you choose to compile your lists, have you thought about how you are going to break it down? My preference is to group home chores together, administrative (i.e., phone calls, correspondence, financial matters, etc.) as another section and then tasks outside the home e.g., dry cleaners, food shopping, car repairs, etc. To stay focused, I recommend setting aside time every day to assess what needs to be done and how to get it done. Firstly, I would categorize tasks by room in the house, i.e.,
- dust furniture
- vacuum rugs and walls
- DVR Hoarders on A&E
- unload dishwasher
- clean out fridge
- empty trash bin
Break things down and be specific about the task to be done. Don’t be put off if the list is very long because in the end, the more detailed the list, the more focused you will be in accomplishing your work.
One final piece of advice… when certain chores require that I block out time to address them, I use the iCal calendar program on my MAC laptop. This program is invaluable in keeping my appointments or self-imposed deadlines. I love the timer feature that allows me to schedule an “event” for a specific date and time. I hit the alarm button which gives me “heads up” minutes, hours or days before my desired time.
2009 Rosemary Flannery All Rights Reserved
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