Stop Digging for Lost Bones: 10 Steps to Keep You More Organized
You know the feeling…confused, misplaced. Scrambling like a dog digging holes in the backyard trying to remember where you buried that bone. And, these “lost bones” aren’t just obscure objects, but everyday information as well.
Thankfully, your planner holds a major resource for maintaining some sanity in life – lists. Lists can play prominent roles in your personal effectiveness, so sit down and put these 10 key lists of information in your family organizer (or better yet, your online family calendar):
Task List: Your task list is a working list of all your to-dos for the day. You can keep one big list or keep two task lists, one for home and one for work. Really, the most important thing is that each task be broken down into actionable steps. And remember, your task list drives your day, so keep it updated weekly, if not daily.
List of Goals: You’d be surprised at how many people don’t write out their goals or keep them accessible. Try categorizing your goals by work, home, family, financial, and self (or whatever floats your boat). Just be sure to follow the SMART goal method (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) which will help you know exactly where you’re going and avoid digging for bones in the yard.
List of Values: We all have things that we value in life, but we don’t always take the time to integrate them into our planning. Start by creating a list of the important life values that mean the most to you. For example, living with integrity, reducing waste, and having healthy family relationships. Then, review the list regularly to remind yourself of these values.
Daily Routines List: Keep a list of daily routine activities like: make a bag lunch, check daily schedule, drink water, stretch, review daily notes, clean desk, meditate, write in journal, workout, call kids, etc. This is a daily list of reoccurring activities that don’t need to clutter up your to-do list.
Birthday Gifts List (for others): It happens every year, you’re out shopping and you find something that would make a great gift for a friend or loved one. You purchase it and then, like clockwork, you forget the item when their birthday finally rolls around. So now you waste time finding a new gift and cause undue stress to yourself. By simply keeping a list of items, the people they’re for, and when, mishaps like these can be avoided.
Debts/Loans List: This list serves as a reminder of when payments are due and helps motivate you to pay debts off. Although debt is easy to ignore, it can easily become a nightmare and bring more stress into your life. Include debt amounts, minimum payments due, and payment dates to help reduce stress and keep your financial goals in the big picture.
Someday List: Start a list of activities you’d like to accomplish one day, maybe. This can be a wish list, an “if I had time” list, and even a “rainy day” list. It’s an entirely liberating feeling to get these ideas out of your head. So jot them down and let the creative juices flow. Each month, make it your mission to slip some of these activities into your life.
Travel Packing List: This can be a huge time saver for anyone. Whether it’s having a list of key items to pack on a trip, or even a list of items to pack in the diaper bag, these lists allow you to focus on the more important details. Your list should be basic and can include items like: phone charger, IDs, tickets, extra diapers, snacks, and travel games. Keep in mind the whole point to a trip is to enjoy it. By creating a list you’re getting yourself one step closer to enjoying your trip without the added stress of rushed packing.
Important Phone Numbers List: Ever have the pleasure of losing your mobile phone? Most of us rely solely on the process of choosing a name instead of dialing a number. So, make a list of the important numbers that you’d need to get through an average day, as well as an emergency…just in case.
Key Info List: Even though you’ve had to use your bank account number or your kids’ social security numbers, you may not always recall them. For whatever unknown reason, it seems like we simply don’t have room for this information in our heads. And since you don’t want to waste time digging for the information, keep a list. Note: Because identity theft is a serious and realistic concern, use a system that you’re comfortable with, and more importantly, that is secure.
All of these lists can be updated and printed by computer, so if you lose your planner, you’ll have back-ups of everything. Of course, you’re welcome to choose where you keep them, but make sure they are easily accessible, wherever you are.
So what do you think? Please comment and tell us what lists keep you out of the backyard.
[photo by holisticmonkey]