The one thing I cannot live with out is my to do list. I have shared my system with so many people! Many would assume that my system is over the top, however it is actually quite simple. My routine is what really helps keep me in order and now I really look forward to the one time during the week that I set to reset my to do list. There is nothing extremely unique about how I set up and manage my to do list. I will go in depth on how I set up my to do list and my systems. I encourage everyone to take what they want and leave what they don’t as long as you have a system that works for you that is all that matters.
Benefits of having categorized lists
I complete operate off of categorized lists. I am also a paper kind of gal when it comes to staying organized. Having separate list helps me to stay focused through out the week. Without categorized lists I would get stressed so quickly looking at one list with a million items on it.
Here are some examples of my categorized to do lists:
- Freelance Work
- Waiting For…
- Any other topic that I need to stay on top of or that would only happen in one location.
Each of these categorize get their own page in myself built notebook. I keep a mini binder always attached to me. Having a small binder allows me to throw it into a purse or anywhere. I just buy these from Target. The first section of my mini binder is for all of my to do lists. When I am in the office I focus on my “Work” to do list and nothing else. When I go back home in the evening or when I have time to dedicate to me, I only focus on my “Personal” to do list. Some times additional lists will be created for upcoming trips or events where I might have a lot to do. I use the “Waiting For…” category to keep up with items that people owe me or reminders of different things that I need to close the loop on.
I also share some of these tips on my Instagram highlight stories, so go check that out too!
How do I decide if I write it on my to do list
Creating my to do list is a process that I come to enjoy. Once I finish an initial to do list for the week I feel great, productive and ready to tackle my week ahead. I have a full routine to my to do lists. But when it comes to writing down what I need to do, my process is simple… I write down everything. There is nothing to big or too small for my to do lists. I get very detailed in my to do lists. I break up anything that I cannot finish in one sitting as well.
For example, on my “Personal” to do list, here are some ways that I make my lists work for me by just adding a little more detail:
|How One Might Write It||How I Put It Into My To Do List|
1. Wash color load of clothes #1
2. Wash color load of clothes #2
3. Dry clothes
4. Hang Clothes
5. Fold Clothes
|Call Lizzy||Call Lizzy about photo shoot on [date] at [###.###.####]|
I write down every single step to an action. It helps me to know where I am in a process. Some may say this is overboard, but this helps me to stay efficient. I always include as much information as I can so that I don’t have much to do when it comes time to complete the action.
Once I complete an item on any of my to do lists, I use colored pens to scratch through the item. The colored pens just add a little bit of excitement to what could be a dull process to some. But it feels so good to see a page full of crossed out items.
Sundays or Monday morning I start fresh on my to do lists. If I take the time on Sunday, I usually make a cup of tea or coffee. This is my happy time. I start my routine by going through the to do lists from the week before. If I have crossed off most of the items on that to do list or if there is little room left on the page, I will rewrite the old items on a clean categories page. I throw away the old list and start on a fresh page with outstanding items and new items for the week ahead.
If I am working on my “Work” to do list I will go through my work calendar and emails to identify what are some different things that I need to get done to be prepared for the upcoming week. When it comes to my “Personal” list it will usually contain a lot of house cleaning items. I’ll walk around my house and look at the different things that need to get done around the house. I also use my calendar or budget to determine items that need to go onto my to do list. My calendar always helps me know what events I need to prepare for and I write down every step necessary to be prepared. Often times I include budgeting for certain things as to do list items.
During the week I will add to my to do list. If I am around my notebook I will go ahead and add to the appropriate category page. If I’m not around my notebook I will either take note in my phone or on a sticky note. When I complete an item I will always cross it off of my list with a colored pen and then it is onto the next item.
Examples of some of my to do list items
To give more context, here are some things that are currently on my to do list. I am going to leave some items with a few blanks so that I’m not sharing too much, but you’ll get the gist.
- Gather receipts for [blank] trip expense report and put in work bag
- Sort clothes to donate
- Put donate clothes in your car
- Donate clothes to [location]
- Sent back Le Tote
- Schedule time to hang with [name]
- Wash and put up dishes
- Write questions for realtor about [blank] for our phone call on [date]
- Write grocery list
- Go to Trader Joes
- Clean out inbox
- Type [blank] campaign video script
- Send [blank] video script to [team] for review
- Send in receipts for expense report
- Set meeting with [team] for phase 2 communications tactics and plans
- Work on phase 2 communications tactics presentation for meeting with [team]
- Set coffee chat with [name]
- Create new word cloud template to help with the rebranding of your blog
- Edit [blank] blog post photos
- Identify 2 photos from [blank] blog post to share on Instagram and schedule to post
- Email [hotel] at [email address] about [blank] opportunity
- Waiting For..
- [Blank] video script edits from [team] – I sent file on [date]
- FabFitFun box
- Le Tote
Download my To Do List Template
Shop some tools that I use to stay organized