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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Words to Live by - Writing TO DO Lists

I try to live by a simple rule: do what I have to, so I can do what I want to.

Sometimes it doesn’t quite happen that way. Some days my hubby gets home from work and it looks like I’ve done nothing because the floor hasn’t been vacuumed, the breakfast dishes are still in the sink, and the ironing basket has suffocated my house fairy. But I made school lunches, got the kids to school looking mostly decent, wrote for two hours, did the groceries, went to the post office, scheduled some blog posts, picked the kids up from school—see, I did actually do something.

But the one thing I struggle with the most is finding time to do all the things I want to do. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, and I often get stressed or feel overwhelmed by it all. I’ve come to realise it’s not actually that there isn’t enough time, it’s more that I’m not organised or using my time wisely.

I have found that writing a list first thing in the morning of what I want to achieve that day is a huge help. I get some of the small and easy tasks out of the way first—things like paying bills or tidying the bench. That way, I feel like I’ve accomplished something, and that feeling of accomplishment grows each time I draw another line through an item on my list. If I feel this way I’m more likely to power through the list as well.

For someone who feels like I’m drowning pretty much 24/7 these are my tips to help me cope:

  • Write a daily list.
  • Write a weekly list as well. This is for things that need to be done over a longer period of time.
  • Don't make the list too long. The aim is for it to be achievable.
  • Do some of the easy things first so it feels like I’m getting somewhere. 
  • Balance what I have to do with what I want to do. For example, fold some washing and put it away, then sit down and write for half an hour. 
  • If something is really important don’t put it off. It will only cause more stress. I always feel relieved when I’ve done something that needed to be done but I didn’t actually want to do it. 
  • If I don’t cross everything off my list, it doesn’t matter. There is always tomorrow.

Another thing I find helps me with my writing is DEAR. The kids came home from school with this concept, and it actually stands for drop everything and read. I figured if it helps them to better their reading skills, why not use it to help with my writing? Even though DEAW is not a word, it doesn’t matter. The point is there are times when we need to just drop everything and do something we love. This especially applies to me and my children. Even though I should do what I have to first, I always take into consideration priorities, and what is most important.The housework can always wait.

How do you cope with getting everything done? Are you a list writer like me?

K x

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