This Is How I Get Things Done

December 7, 2016

Today’s month of faves prompt is all about what we use in our lives to get things done.

A Month of Faves 2016

I’m a simple woman, y’all. I use simple tools. Two of them, in fact.

1. To-do list: I have a paper to-do list in a notebook that I use to organize my busy, busy life and many, many tasks. When that’s not available I will use the Notes app on my phone. I also had a whiteboard installed in my office when I was in charge of a huge project so I could keep track of everything related to that project right where I could see it every day. I’m no longer on that project, but the whiteboard turned out to be a lifesaver during this insane semester when I could barely remember what classes I had on which days.

I would be lost without my to-do list. LOST. If it’s not on the list, it probably won’t get done, tbh. (Let’s be real: if it is on the list, it sometimes doesn’t get done.)

The key to the to-do list, of course, is to break everything down into incremental tasks. That way, even if I don’t fully complete a project/chore, I can see what progress I have made on it and also gain a sense of accomplishment.

Oh! Earlier this semester I had an epiphany. I split my list into two parts: to-do and choose to do. The regular to-do list is everything that I need to do. The choose to do list is mostly related to self-care and those things I usually let fall through the cracks. It was important for me to have both so I could prioritize what was necessary for my mental health as well as stuff that I knew had to be taken care of. It made a huge difference.

2. Google calendar: I started keeping an electronic calendar when I had my Blackberry at the suggestion of a medical provider when I mentioned how I kept missing/forgetting appointments. She advised me to use my phone to keep track, and I have never looked back.

If it’s not on the calendar, it doesn’t exist. Period. My daughter learned this the hard way when she was fooling around and not putting her activities on the calendar, and I was scheduling right through them.

I also put the premiere dates for TV shows on my calendar. (Because how else will I know when to set the TiVo???) My daughter thinks this is hilarious, btw. Yet she will ask me when a show is going to air, so I think we all know who the winner is.

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  1. Ally Bean

    I’m laughing here because my saying, which is so similar to your calendar saying, is: “If it’s not on the list, it does not exist.” Meaning, it’ll never happen, ever, if I don’t write it down. Your idea of a two part to-do list makes sense. It’s practical and proactive. Going to give that idea a try. Thanks.

  2. Sharlene

    Simple works for me too!

  3. Tanya Patrice

    I love that you put your tv shows on the calendar! I’ve thought about using an app for tv shows I want to keep up with, but have so far been a little too lazy to figure it out.

  4. Katy K.

    My to-do lists keep me going, too! I split mine into work, home, errands, web, call, and email (this suddenly seems excessive)- but I really like the idea of having one for choose to do, too!

  5. Read Diverse Books

    I wish I were as organized as you are, Akilah! That’s just never been my thing. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to get through life being the disorganized mess that I am. :(
    I love the idea of a To-Do & a Choose-To-Do list. I should try it.
    Thank you for showing us your ways!

  6. Kate Scott

    To-do lists are everything! I split my to-do list into two parts, too: one for work-related activities and one for personal activities. I always prioritize it based on what HAS to be done, vs. what I would like to get done.


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