My Most Productive Tool

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I spoke about this briefly in my April Favorites post, but some of the best task-management advice I’ve ever gotten was to create a daily to do list. I was listening to a keynote address by Emma Chapman of “A Beautiful Mess” when she shared this pearl of wisdom, but I thought, “daily… did she say daily… like every day???” Initially, it seemed like a lot of work, but I was listening to a very successful woman about her most productive tool, and I wanted to absorb her success like a sponge. With that in mind, I decided to give it a shot and committed to making a to-do list every single day for a month. Want to know what happened???

I got things DONE!

Every morning, after my coffee, of course, I sat down for about five minutes and wrote down everything I wanted to get done that day - big and small. Whether it was “do the laundry,” “walk the dog,” “edit pictures,” or “get financial report done” it all went on the to-do list, and I made sure to reference it about four to five times throughout the day. That may sound like overkill, but it happened quite naturally. Every time I found myself looking around the kitchen thinking “what do I need to do?” I just went over to my list and picked something - BAM. By the end of the first day, I was astounded by how much more intentional and productive I was with my time.

With that said, not everything that made the list got done, and sometimes I put way more on there than was reasonable for one person to do in a day. However, it felt good to get everything out of my head. My to-do list has a way of nagging at me all day long, but if I put pen to paper and write it down somehow, I feel instantly “freed” of that anxiety. So even if it didn’t get done THAT day, I’d still written it down (in my planner… I’m a die-hard planner girl), and I could go back to it another time.

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The list worked wonders, and I even started to have a bit of fun with it. Some days I’d put “read a book to each child at bedtime” or “take a break!” Those are every bit as important as getting the laundry done or making an epic grocery list because it’s all, ALL about balance… right? In the end, I think Emma is right on. We only have so much time in the day to get to things we have to do, and the things we want to do. Writing out that daily to-do list each morning helps me maximize my time, and feel less frenzied throughout the day. If you’re not into planners, there are a million ways to write a daily to-do list: grab a spare notebook, use a post-it note, or even try out an app on your phone.

What do you say… want to take the challenge?