The Blog

Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful To Do list

to do listTo do, or not to do, is a complex question. We are all burdened with too much to do in too little time. Often, important tasks slip through the cracks.

The best life hack solution of all time is an underrated one; list-making. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on paper, dry eraser board, or smart phone, WRITE it down. If your To Do list lives exclusively in your head, it is doomed to fail.  Noone can possibly remember all things that need to get done in one day, and/or sort them from the other gazillion random thoughts swirling around in your head.  You know I’m right.

Try keeping a pad handy (in more than one place) in your home, and in your car to “catch” the thought, an idea, or the something you remembered you forgot.  I’m all about writing things down because it gets tasks out of you head and onto a piece of a paper. This is a productive way to reduce brain clutter, release resonating ideas and make more room for new ones.  Yes my friends, the brain can get cluttered too, just like any other space in your home.

No shocker here that as a Professional Organizer, I’m a huge advocate of list-making.  As you would imagine, my lists have sub-lists, and I have checklists for my checklists. And there is no greater pleasure than checking off or crossing out a task once it has been completed.

You might be wondering what it really means to have a “successful” to do list.  It’s simply one that is productive,  because it works. So before crafting your To Do list, consider these steps first.

 Make a list 

  • Distinguish a to do list from a wish list. They are not the same thing. Short and long term goals should be on a way different To Do list. Separate daily tasks from weekly ones.

Prioritize 

  • Put the tasks in order of importance. Ask yourself, “does this HAVE to get done today?

Evaluate 

  • As part of the prioritizing process, think about the time-management component. Which of the tasks are time-sensitive? Create a timeline. Are they realistic? Have you left yourself enough time to accomplish them?
  • Strategize your route. It’s better to do the furthest destination first and work your way back home. This ensures that you get it done before procrastination flirts. It’s always easier to do the easy errand even when you’re tired.

  Edit  

  • Review the list both before you tackle it, and after the day’s end. Situations change all the time and so it’s important to edit the list often. Re-write the list to possibly change the order, add or delete. Keep it current.

The benefits of list-making are invaluable.  Think about it as “organizing” your brain.  It enable you to structure your day and follow a plan with a cognitive focus.

You can also create more than one To Do List.  Sorting your tasks by “like” actions is a super efficient strategy.  Perhaps separating your grocery list from your other errands would help manage this. Hey, you don’t want to come home without the veggies you needed for dinner, lol.

By organizing your To Do list, you will not only reduce the overwhelm, you will make it doable.  Breaking down the grandiose task list by category, importance, and time-frame will help you to manage it and yield success.

What’s on your To Do list? Have you planned for success?

 

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How Well Do You Accelerate Through Transitions?

roadAmericans woke up today to a new world. Some of us are elated with the presidential outcome, while others are dismayed, paralyzed with disappointment, and perhaps even afraid. We are in transition indeed, and must each find a commonplace for ourselves despite our contrasting values. We must find ways to unify our nation, not divide it.

While I don’t ever talk personal politics, I am deeply struck with its impact and metaphors. Unfortunately, this election was arguably the most malicious in history but it is finally over. Rather than hyperfocusing on the analytics ad nauseum,  we can only hope the hatred exits with its jaw dropping results.  For the defeated, this is a hard day. Easier said than done, to suggest to just pick up the broken pieces and embrace the change. This clearly cannot happen in a day.

Just like Daylight saving time (DST) punctuated the end of one season and yet it marked the beginning of another, we are at the pinnacle of a more significant change in America.

Transition suggests movement.  It is not a stagnant block of time. We must propel forward and navigate our “next.”

The brilliant ruby reds and blood orange leaves are beginning to fade and shed, yet another reminder that time and seasonal change transforms all things.  With the shorter days and early darkness, these noticeable changes affect our mindset.  But on this post election day, the fallout changes are far more dramatic than nature could possibly draw, both literally and figuratively.

This pivotal moment requires tweaking and shifting. The need to  calibrate our body clock is far easier to adapt to than embracing the new political landscape.  This will take time. The country is broken and needs to heal. Acceptance is critical.

As individuals now, we may feel powerless to fix a country.  But perhaps we can use this transition to wake-up our own personal productivity.  Make it an opportunity to not only re-stock, but take stock of ourselves, and our own goals.

Last week we turned back our clocks, but let us not fall back on our personal locomotion. It’s time to get our heads straight and move forward. Shed the hatred and turn over a new leaf.  Embrace the season with opportunities for positive change in your physical, mental, and emotional state.

Think about how you navigate the changes in the air.  What next steps are you taking for a smoother transition?

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Life Lessons from Nature: We Change When We Are Ready

blog-1OK, call me sappy but I’m a sucker for seasonal change.  I can never get enough of summer sunsets and I’m totally intoxicated by the fall foliage.  Truth be told that on more than one occasion, I have stopped my car on the shoulder of the road and have been ever so bold as to make a complete 360, just to capture yet another pic of the magnificant turn of color.

It never ceases to amaze me how unique each and every tree changes from year to year.  No two are ever sun-kissed in exactly the same way.

I’ve written many blogs about seasonal change as influencers for personal change. As we recall, the bloom of spring usually activates a welcomed change from the previous cold harsh winter.  With each day, our lawns got greener and wiry branches became fuller and festooned with colorful flowers.  As the season launched, there seemed to be a very natural eagerness to crank up our productivity.

For me, the fall change alerts me in a different way.  It’s a two-fold influencer. For anyone in the northeast, the first transition is hard to ignore.  The spectacular autumnal colors can take our breath away and nudges us to notice nature’s magical beauty.  When we pay attention, and in that one small second that we stop and pause, I believe we all can feel an internal change.  It’s a poke of sorts, a reminder that time does not stand still and that change is in the air.  For most, this imagery could mean nothing more than a great Instagram post but for some, this shift can be felt more deeply. The air is fresh, the leaves are crisp, and the temps are cool. A profound setting for change, indeed. I like to think about it as a wake-up call for the soul. Time to embrace change, new opportunities, maybe even new beginnings.

Physical changes around us can have a strong impact on our mental state and spark mindfullness. In fact, it is the seasonal change that is likely the trigger that wakes us up, and perhaps evokes a personal change. 

But there’s a second part to this transition. As slowly and organically as this beauty unfolds, with just a couple of forceful gusts on a blustery windy day, the brilliant colors will soon vanish leaving our landscape bare and barren.  Like no other season do we feel this exit and disparity so suddenly.  And just like that, it’s over.

Each season reveals its own distinguished beauty and can exude a different personal change within.  Our perpective is altered because each season feels different to us, don’t you think?  It’s a notable change.  And we sense this physical change, it is likely to elicit an emotional response in our day-to-day lives.  These changes can easily affect our moods, behaviors and productivity.

Apparently, fall is so strong an influencer for me as it has compelled me to blog after a long imposed pause. Blogging has always been a very personal cathartic practice. I don’t write just for the sake of writing, and I never force a blog.  I need to be inspired. Today I felt this powerful influence. I was ready.

What are your strongest influencers that call you to action?  What makes you ready for change?

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