Master That To-Do List (Free Printable!)
This post is Day #6 in the 31 Days to a Better Work + Life Balance series.
Do you ever get those nights when you can't sleep because your mind won't shut off?
For me the only solution to stop replaying thoughts in my head is to write them down. Usually after I get up, write them down and then go back to bed, I can rest.
Get It On Paper
The same holds true for when I feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the day. Writing things down can almost trick our brains into feeling like the task is dealt with.
When I don't write things down, my thoughts feel disorganized. I spend so much energy just keeping track of the details in my head that I don't have room to think clearly. Or I forget details altogether.
When things are written, I feel like I can let them go and focus on one thing at a time.
First Chunks, Then Bites
How you write your list can help get things organized and crossed off. Forgive the weird food analogy but I like to organize mine into Chunks and then Bites.
1. List Your Chunks
- These are the things that need a large amount of focus, creativity, and time. Examples: writing, designing, DIY projects, photoshoots, organizing, etc.
-Accomplish these during your best thinking hours. Mine are in the morning when one of my kids is at preschool and also late at night when the house is quiet.
-Don't feel bad about choosing just one per day. These are the big jobs so you should feel accomplished after tackling just one.
2. List Your Bites
-These are things that can be done quickly and lumped together. They are mindless tasks, easy to accomplish and don't take your total focus. Examples: throwing in laundry, running an errand, checking stats, making tweaks, doing a quick house pick-up, etc.
-Accomplish these FAST. I almost picture a human tornado because you can just kind of attack a lot of things at once. These things don't need to be done perfectly. They just need to get done.
-These are awesome for the afternoon slump. My mind is usually ready for a nap but physical activity like blasting through my cleaning list helps give me energy. Bonus: if you finish fast enough, you can reward yourself with a nap haha.
Don't Let Your To-Do List Master You
I love to check things off my list and feel accomplished. But there is also a sense of failure or stress when things are left undone. I have to expect that. We aren't perfect and life has interruptions. A way to fight this sense of failure is to finish off your work day with a list for tomorrow. Again, by writing it down you'll trick your brain into thinking it's dealt with. You can get the tasks out of your head and give your mind room to recharge for tomorrow.
Your list is for you. Not the other way around. So celebrate your wins for the day. Maybe you didn't run that errand but you did get a chance to hang out with a friend. That's still a win.
Want to download and print my to-do list? Click here to get it free.