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.


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


  • 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.


  • 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?


Read this post on single page to comment →

Has “Spare” Time become “Rare” Time?

tea timeHow many times have we all said “I’ll get to this or that in my spare time?” Too often, I fear.  We cram our schedules with jam-packed to-do’s, we never seem to get there.

Unfortunately,  it’s the by-product of being popularly “busy” in today’s culture.  On a good day, we take on too much and don’t carve out sufficient time to get it all done, so it spills into the next day.  And on and on it goes.  We all struggle with time on a daily basis, it’s seems highly unlikely that we’ll end up with any extra batches of it.  Gone are the days of spare time.  But is it a lost commodity? It doesn’t have to be. What if I told you that you can reclaim it?

Here’s some ideas to chew on;

Schedule it. If you don’t schedule the spare time, it’s never going to happen. So just like booking the haircut, picking up the dry cleaning or getting the car washed, add the spare time onto your to-do list too.  Maybe a time to catch up on reading, enjoy a DVD you’ve been wanting to watch, call an old friend, or just plant yourself on a chaise lounge and just chill.  Don’t you deserve that?

Evaluate the have to’s and the want-to’s.  Think about those things that have to get done… but not necessarily by YOU. Opt to delegate and make room for the want-to’s.  Beyond the nonnegotiablescreate space for your sanity. It’s essential for life-balance.

Consider the obstacles.  Can you define what is in your way?

    • Time-management skills. I  frequently write about managing the “busy” because poor time-management habits usually heighten anxiety and exacerbate disorganization. Sharpening those skills can free up valuable time.
    • Working long hours? Does your workday come home with you? Working from home can easily impede on spare time.
    • Technology could be one of the greatest time robbers that could be eating up your spare time. As if the days aren’t busy enough, our affinity to stay connected on or off the computer is a huge distraction.


Tweak the busy. If you’re overwhelmed and feeling out of control, perhaps this is a red flag that you may be a little too busy.  Align your schedule with your prioritizes.  Adjust.  Change what’s no longer working for you.  Life changes readily, so tweaking is an ongoing and necessary process.

Capture the opportunities.  It’s easier in this cycle of season to be encouraged to take more breaks, steal some time, and take advantage of the beautiful weather.  The days are longer and may even inspire you to carve out some extra time you may be craving.  Remember, spare time is “your” time.  When or how you choose to use it, is your prerogative. What’s important is that you find some.

I revel in my spare time and know when I require it.  This is a time that I catch the wind in my sails, and I capitalize on these opportunities.  For me, I’m a summer gal and so my stolen spare moments will probably be outside somewhere. With blue skies above and the sun shining brightly overhead, I am more apt to get up and be ready to work hard… but play hard too.

Reclaiming spare time is doable, what will YOU choose to do with yours?


Read this post on single page to comment →

The 5 R’S That Should Be On Your August To-Do List

1.  RELISH: That’s right, relish the summer!  It’s not over yet, stretch it out.  Frolic in the lazy, crazy days of summer.  Savor the sunshine, appreciate the gorgeous summer sunsets, and take pleasure in the warm evenings that inspire you to do almost anything at all (even if you’re tired from a long day).

2.  RE-EVALUATE: Summer is a great time to focus on YOU.  You’re enjoying the weather, you’re more relaxed and are probably on the higher end of the “happy” scale than you were in the winter.  And so it’s a great time to weigh in on your priorities and goals when you have positive energy flowing.  Take a step back and re-evaluate your life and use this time to regroup.  Organize your thoughts and make changes in the areas that are no longer working for you.  Logical thinking and productive reasoning can really thrive when you are in a positive place.

3.  REBOOT: Not a bad time to shut down either, for a little while.  The turning off will allow everything to re-calculate. Take some time off from the same ‘ol, same ‘ol of every day.  Even if you can’t take a vacation, you can still take a break from the mundane and do something fun.  It’s summertime, don’t harness yourself with huge to-do lists. Give yourself a little more down time and allow yourself to enjoy more leisure time.  Sometimes you just need to turn the switch to OFF.  Shut it down and reboot.

4.  REJUVENATE: Time to refresh. By taking a break, you will activate new energy and potentially restore your focus. Very few can work at their highest potential for long periods of time before suffering burn-out. Capture the benefits of summer like a giant dose of vitamin D!  Rejuvenate.

5.  READY: If you have used your summertime wisely, and relaxed the heck out of it, then give yourself a big A+ in time-management.  Now you’re ready to rock and roll! September is just around the corner and we’ll be blogging about that real soon, but until then…… Enjoy the summer and PLAY hard!





Read this post on single page to comment →