I have always been a list maker. When I was a kid, I was always listing my Barbie Dolls and Cabbage Patch Kids, counting out my shoes and clothes. I was constantly writing things down. Now that I’m older, I make lists of chores I need to do, things I need to buy, projects I need to start. In all honesty, if I don’t write it down, it’s not going to happen.
I’ve tried several online techniques for making lists – including using Google Tasks, using the reminders and notes functions on my phone, even sending myself e-mails with things I need to do. But I’ve found that nothing works as well as putting pen to paper and writing it out. It’s almost as if the physical act of writing something down solidifies the information, and makes it actually stick inside my brain.
When it comes to making to-do lists I have a weekly list, with the chores that I need to do each day of the week. I keep this list inside a plastic sleeve in my binder, and use a dry-erase marker to cross out each task as I complete it. I also keep a daily to-do list, that includes things that pop up during the day, unexpected errands I need to take care of, and activities that The Goose and I need to do together. (I used to have separate notebooks for shopping lists, errands, and general to-do lists, but I kept misplacing them – so now I just keep one notebook with separate tabs).
Now that I’ve shared how I make my to-do lists, I’ll share why I make a to-do list.
I make lists for three reasons. 1) Lists keep me organized and on-task. If I don’t have clear cut goals for my day I will spend my time putzing around the house, going from room to room, but not getting much done. 2) I like to be busy, and I thrive when I have a lot of irons in the fire. Seeing a list of things that need to be done keeps me moving and gives me the motivation to keep going. 3) At the end of the day I feel more accomplished when I can look at my list and see all the things I’ve done throughout the day. As a stay-at-home mom, this is especially true because I often spend my days doing things that are unseen by the naked eye.
Most days, if my husband were to come home from work and ask me what I did all day (though he’s smart enough to never do that), I would most likely have nothing to show him. I may spend the morning at the grocery store, or volunteering at The Goose’s school, followed by a quick trip to the pharmacy, the post office or the bank. I spend my time doing laundry, washing dishes, preparing food, sweeping, dusting, ironing, vacuuming, watering plants. All chores that nobody really notices until I don’t do them. But, when I see each and every one of them crossed off my to do list at the end of the day, I feel as though I’ve accomplished something. Even if that something is undone minutes after The Goose walks in the door.