There were times when I knew I had to get stuff done, but they were these nebulous things in my head and I convinced myself that they'd get done 'later' or 'before the deadline.' I found this to be a draining and stress-inducing way to live. When I started becoming more aware of the things I needed to get done by not just filing them in my head, but actually putting them down on paper, I found that things were getting done not just on time, but with more care and better results.
It's a simple thing really. Here's the idea, at night, sit down with a pen and paper. Write down five things that you have to get done. I always do five, unless I absolutely have to do more, but using this system I usually never have to because I do everything in a timely manner. And I think five is plenty of things for a person to focus on for one day.
I generally include things that don't occur on my everyday list. So I don't put things like laundry on that list. I have enough discipline at this point to do those as needed. But you might want to, it's your list, do what YOU want!
Here's my 'planning in advance' for today:
- Take jeans to get hemmed.
- Respond to brother's wedding emails (1/2 an hour, then stop and do the rest tomorrow).
- Decide on family picture groups for brother's side.
- Get thank you cards, write, and stamp for mailing tomorrow.
- Upload NJ pictures and get some printed for mailing.
There are other things I could have added to this list, but I want to make things manageable for myself. We could all probably make to-do lists as long as our arms, but when we allow ourselves to focus on a few things everyday, we can be very productive. I found that when I made to-do lists that included every single thing I needed to, I would have one very productive day, and then the next day I would feel wiped out and I would lose momentum. Having just a few things leaves time and space for your regular day-to-day activities and time for living life. This is how it becomes an energy booster. You handle the things you need to in a timely fashion, you don't allow yourself to be bogged down with many things all clamoring for attention, and you feel motivated by the fact that you're actually getting things done.
Try it for a few days. Just 5 things every day and see how much more lively you feel!
Check out the rest of the tips in this series: