As I try to manage my home in the middle of life’s busyness, I’ve found the only way I can stay on track is with the help of to-do lists.
House & Home

Make Your Daily Life Easier with a To-Do List

Managing your home in the middle of life’s busyness is easier with the help of a to-do list.

Managing your home in the middle of life’s busyness is easier with the help of a to-do list.

I’m a list maker. I make lists for everyday.  I make lists for what needs done around my house. I make lists for long-term goals. And I make lists with small action steps to accomplish these goals. You can find these lists – always made on paper – all around my house.

You see, as I try to manage my home (and life!) in the middle of everyday busyness, I’ve found the only way I can stay on track is with the help of to-do lists.

I need to write down my chores and commitments – or I’ll forget about them.

I’ve tried to go through my days without a list, but I forget what I need to do. Even when I have a good routine in place and a workable housekeeping strategy, if something as basic as laundry isn’t written down, I’ll unintentionally skip it.

Instead of being frustrated with my forgetfulness, I try to give myself grace. I realize I’m busy. I realize everyday life – and parenting! – distracts me from basic chores. So I compensate for my reality with lists.

If you could use some help in creating or fine-tuning your own to-do lists, here’s what has worked really well for me:

When do I make a list?

On weekends, I try to map out my coming week with daily to-do lists:

  • I check my calendar for meetings, appointments and other commitments. I add them to my daily lists.
  • Then I think about what I need to do in the week. I add it to my daily lists.
  • Then I think about what I’d like to try to fit in – and add it.

Every night, I look at my list for the next day. Sometimes it needs completely changed. Sometimes I need to add things I didn’t finish. And sometimes, it looks just fine.

By taking the time to make your list – and then tweaking it when you need to – you can have a good idea of what your day might look like ahead of time. At the very least, you’ll have a basic direction for your day.

As I try to manage my home in the middle of life’s busyness, I’ve found the only way I can stay on track is with the help of to-do lists.

How I structure my lists

Depending on my day, my list may be fairly unstructured – I think of a basic order of when I should do things, and write them down.

For example, a typical day’s basic to-do list might look like:

  • Time with God
  • Write blog post
  • Dishes and laundry
  • Homeschooling
  • Put away etc. around teh house

But on a really, really busy day – if I’m preparing for company, planning a deep cleaning day, trying to purge to create more of a haven, or preparing for vacation, I’ll break up my day’s chores into morning afternoon and evening chores like this:

Morning

Afternoon

  • Weed garden
  • Drop off recycling
  • Pay bills
  • More laundry

Evening

  • Return texts and respond to e-mails
  • Clean up the house
  • Put laundry away

I’ve noticed that some days my plans are much more ambitious than they should be – and I’d need about 40 hours in a day to get everything done. Unless I’m miraculously having a Superwoman kind of day and somehow manage to fit everything in, I need to try to do my tasks on a different day. It’s OK.

The point of a to-do list, though, is to serve as a reminder of what we want to try to do. It’s not a rigid checklist – just a helpful reminder. If you don’t accomplish everything in a day, simply move your goals to another day later in the week.

When you do complete a task, enjoy the huge feeling of accomplishment when you cross it off. On some days, that accomplishment’s enough to add a little pep and encouragement to keep going.

As I try to manage my home in the middle of life’s busyness, I’ve found the only way I can stay on track is with the help of a to-do list.

How often do you use a to-do list? Are you overly ambitious with your lists … or fairly realistic?

Hilary
Please share!

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4 Comments

  1. I should go back to my regular to do lists…

    I have random running lists for things that are not urgent or bound to a specific day or time… So i can check if i get an unplanned free time slot what useful i can do instead of wasting the time online… (My current lists are ideas for sewing, and homeschool ideas for the future that need prep)

    When i used to do daily lists i had a layout with 3 stars (top priorities), meal plan, drink water reminder, other to-do, and a memory box (to write anything down at the end of the day)

    What i loved about this was that the 3 top priorities were clear, and other stuff was remembered too but not muddled with the priorities… Some days the priority was ‘hold the baby’ along with ‘get all the kids showered :)’ usually if an item stayed to long on the regular to do list i’d put it as a priority to get it done…

  2. I love breaking my list down by morning/afternoon/evening too! And YES – I totally relate to having extremely ambitious lists. One thing I have learned is to try to limit my lists to 2-3 items per time slot. I can always do more if I have time but limiting it helps me focus. Good post!

  3. I am a senior citizen who has been blessed to find love in a wonderful man.
    We are getting married this year and having our retirement home built in the south. I will be responsible for the decorating and homemaking. Your blog is a
    blessing as I am getting myself prepared for making our home a haven. Thanks
    so much for all the tips and ideas. God bless you and keep them coming. I love this!

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