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You know that never ending to do list that’s always looming over you, making you feel like unaccomplished garbage? The to do list that seems to grow quicker than it shrinks? That same list that you’ve maybe even written a dozen times because you keep losing it?
I hear you girl. Been there. And I am so OVER that!
I hated that list. I really really hated it. The same tasks would come and go and come again. You know the ones: dishes, laundry, floors, dishes, laundry, floors, and so on and on and on…..
I hated that list so much, I finally did something about it. I had to first see my to do list as something different. I had to realize the end game. I had to shift my focus.
Almost all the things on that list were aimed at having a clean home. They were chores, some daily, some weekly…
Some of the other tasks on my list were actual, time sensitive, errands that needed to be done: doctor’s appointments, bills, etc.
I took my tasks and organized them differently. I determined what was important and what was not, and what was time sensitive and what was not. Also set aside the items on your list that are daily things: like dishes, laundry, drinking enough water, exercise, whatever. We’ll deal with these separately.
I’ve got a free printable here to help you out!
From this new perspective, you have priorities. I want you to pull out your planner or calendar right now. Take the important/time sensitive items and schedule them this week. Cross them off your to do list. You’ve just scheduled an appointment with yourself to take care of each of those tasks.
No planner? No problem. I’ve got a printable for that too! Check it out right here.
Look at the rest of your list, at each category, and put them in order of importance TO YOU. Create a list of priorities out of the remaining items. Open up your planner and assign each task to a day, keeping in mind what else you already have to do that day (grocery trips, taking kids to school, dance classes, whatever). Some days you may be able to do 2 or 3 tasks, some days you won’t have time for any, and that’s okay. Be realistic with your time! That’s important, I’ll say it again.
BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR TIME.
Don’t overbook yourself and don’t get burnt out. If there are things on your list that just aren’t important and don’t need to be done right away, don’t feel bad about putting them off during a busy time. You can wait an entire month to paint your kitchen cabinets (or whatever) if you’re too busy to comfortably set aside time for that right now. That’s okay! Some things are not important enough to cause you stress every day.
Now your 4 categories should be done. Recycle that paper and get it out of your life. Keep your plans and appointments with yourself. Know your importance and don’t break promises to yourself. You’d keep these appointments with anyone else, so don’t go cancelling on yourself.
Time to look at your daily chores. Now be honest with yourself, or this isn’t going to work at all. Ask yourself some questions here.
- What of these chores do you already do every day, without needing a reminder to do them? Cross them off your list. You got this.
- How important are all the things you have left on your list? Do they all REALLY need to be done EVERY DAY? Maybe it’s something you can schedule once a week?
- Looking at what’s left on your list, you should only have tasks that need to be done every day, that you are terrible at doing everyday. Repeat 1 and 2 if that’s not true for you.
- Okay, here’s where we change things. Hold on tight and follow me here:
We’re going to create helping habits for your home. Habits are the things we do without thinking about them. When we fail to make a choice, and do what our brains are hardwired and trained to do naturally. When the things that you don’t want to do, but have to do, become a habit, they become effortless and you can spend a lot less time thinking about them. (And less time actively avoiding them!)
“Change might not be fast and it isn’t always easy. But with time and effort, almost any habit can be reshaped.
[There is] a simple neuroligical loop at the core of every habit, a loop that consists of three parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward.”
-Charles Duhigg (The Power of Habits).
The best way to establish a habit it to attach it to a cue or a trigger. When this happens, I do that… If your goal is to empty the sink every day, then you need to attach it to a trigger. For example, when I’m done cooking dinner, I empty the sink.
I only want you to take 3 of these things on your list, and work on making them a habit this week. When one chore becomes a habit, and you no longer need a reminder to do it, add another one in.
Soon your to do list will be just a small part of your life. It won’t be cluttered up with things that aren’t important, or things that reoccur every day. Your list will be a legitimate to do list containing only a few items that aren’t a part of your every day life and aren’t huge projects that you’ve already scheduled in your planner.
Your to do list shouldn’t run your life, and it certainly shouldn’t be stressing you out. It’s a tool, to remind you of those few little things that you are likely to forget if not written down.