Making lists and batching tasks

I’m a little overwhelmed these days with all that needs to be done before I move at the end of the month.  I can feel my anxiety levels rising with each passing day.  However there is one thing that helps me manage life, not only on a regular basis, but especially each time I go through a phase like this and let’s face it, these phases hit all of us at some point or another.

Lists.

Not just multiple lists or post it notes stuck to every nook and cranny contributing to the chaos but a list notebook that keeps all my to-do’s in one place.   You know how I love to contain things :)  I’m an old fashion pen and paper kind of girl so this is what I keep going back to time and time again.  It’s simple and easy to use.

My list notebook is my container for my sanity and not only would I be lost without it but I definitely wouldn’t be sleeping at night either.

Here’s how it works for me and maybe it’ll help you out as well.

The Right Notebook

My lined spiral bound notebook of choice is 7 x 5 inches big.  I prefer this size because it’s big enough that I can get 23 tasks per page yet small enough to be left out right beside my computer or to fit into my purse if I want to take it places with me (and right now that’s not such a bad idea!).  It’s also important to me that it lays flat when opened and as well folds so I only have to see one side at a time if I want to narrow my focus.  Chose whatever works best for you.

Detail Your Tasks

I always start by writing the date at the top of the page.  Then I write down every single task that is taking up more space than it needs to in my head.  The trick to this brain dump is to list your tasks in detail and this comes in handy for batching tasks which I’ll talk about in a minute.  So for example if you want to make end of the year teacher gifts your list might include the various steps required to make that happen:  buy craft supplies, have kids make cards, make craft, buy packaging, etc..  The more detailed I am, the less stress I feel.  Mental clutter is bad news.  It’s why I we start forgetting appointments and locking my our keys in the van…ahem…I’m just saying.

Batching Tasks

Having a running master list like this makes it very easy now to batch tasks as you need to saving you all sorts of time, energy and money.  When I need to run downtown to do an errand I can quickly scan my list to see anywhere I noted that I needed to purchase or pick up something saving myself multiple trips.   Or if after reviewing my detailed list I see that I have multiple phone calls to make, I can clear a space in my day to make them all at once.

I don’t have to remember many things, I only need to remember to check my notebook.

Highlight Completed Tasks

As I complete my tasks I will make a notation of the date completed and highlight the line item so I know it is done.  It provides visual interest to the page and makes it perfectly clear which items are still outstanding.  It also means I can still read the completed task.  So many times I have gone back in my notebook to double check a date or task and this makes it easy to do so.

Starting a New Page

Every week or two I’ll start a new page in my notebook with a new date at the top.  Any outstanding tasks are carried forward to this new date so now all the outstanding tasks are clustered together at the top.  The reason I don’t start a new page every day is because I would be constantly carrying items forward which is not a practical use of my time.

Cross Reference with Your Calendar

Once you have your list of tasks laid out like this, take it to your calendar and start scheduling these tasks in.  If we aren’t intentional about this step it is much too easy to procrastinate the tasks believing that we have more time than we really do or put things off simply because we are overwhelmed with the volume of items that need to get done.  This is where I’m at.

When You Run out of Time

Logically I know that with less than 30 days to go there is no way I’m going to be able to accomplish all the things on my list that I have such lofty goals of completing.  My options are.

  1. Ask friends for help (not always easy to do)
  2. Hire tasks out (is it worth my time to pay someone else to do it)
  3. Simplify (eg:  I will buy teacher gifts rather than make them myself)
  4. Re-prioritize and delete (what can I cut from the list altogether)

Too many decisions in such a short amount of time is stressful.  Having a list definitely helps keep the insanity in check and alleviates some of the tension that results when we are overwhelmed with everything on our plates.

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed right now and in need of making a list notebook?

First image credit:  DeaPeaJay

Third image credit:  Merete

Filed under: Lists

Comments

83 Responses to Making lists and batching tasks

  1. 1
    Gabby says

    I love this!! I have been working on a list all day — my summer plans for the kids! It is a week by week theme and it all consuming BUT I am hoping that I can get it all mapped out and the rest of the summer I can just enjoy the plans :-)

  2. 2
    anne says

    great tips thanks, i’m forever trying to get organised, unfortunately i’m a procrasinator!!! think thats spelt correctly !! will put some of this into action and see how it goes, problem is I start with very good intentions but get bored with things easily, thanks for the info anyhoo

    anne :)

  3. 3
    Ashley says

    Great tips! I think I need to do something like this for myself.

  4. 4
    Amber @ Classic Housewife says

    Me me me!!

    I have a notebook just like this (same size, etc) that I use for blogging and online stuff… But I keep finding myself making grocery lists and to-do lists in it from time to time. Why? Because it is so handy, mainly. I’ve never really thought about using a notebook for EVERYTHING.
    Lately I’ve been using a to-do list application (one app, multiple lists for home, online, produce co-op that I can flip through) on my computer that also ties in with the calendar program on the computer. It’s working okay, and it kinda helps. But MAN, am I ever a pen and paper girl! It’s hard to list everything out in long detail on the to do list apps you know? Even if I break it down into a bunch of to dos. I have to say, you’ve got me really thinking about dropping by the dollar store for a couple of notebooks when I make a run to town this evening!! =)

    • 4.1
      Laura says

      I’m not one to use apps/online list tracking anything as I find it just makes things more complicated than necessary.

      I get all my notebooks from the Dollar Store…so many great ones to choose from!

    • 4.2
      Heather says

      I agree! I am much like you! My notebook is also very similar with an encouraging quote on the front of it. It’s really nice and like carrying it and writing down tasks, grocery lists, and anything like that as they come to me. I don’t put them in any kind of order or anything yet. I simply write down in my notebook as these things come to mind. Once I have tasks, appointments to schedule, appointments made, and etc.. I turn to my calendar and my task app to prioritize it while using the app for reminders! But the notebook is definitely where I start out! I can forget things very easily!! So this definitely works for me! Then, I take these things to my task app and google calendar! :)

  5. 5
    Kim says

    Our closing date is the 21st of June and we don’t even know for sure where we are moving! UGH! Talk about stressful. So just know that you are not alone in your stressful journey.
    And these were great tips. Thank you!!

    • 5.1
      Laura says

      It’s hard isn’t it Kim. We haven’t sold our house nor do we have a place yet to move into. Ack…I’m so trying not to panic knowing that everything is in God’s timing not mine. Easier said than done though right :)

      • 5.1.1
        Kim says

        OH, well then you can TOTALLY relate. The verse I have on my blog today pretty much summed it up for me. We definitely need to trust in Him.
        I’ll be praying for you guys!
        HUGS!

  6. 6
    Kate says

    Thanks for the tips, Laura. I am big on making lists, but have never managed to come up with a decent system. I find myself writing different lists on different, often loose pieces of paper and can never keep track of it all.

    • 6.1
      Patty says

      Kate- Are you still writing things on different pcs. of papers or are you doing your lists differerently? That is how I always do mine, but I just came across this and happen to see your comment and found it interesting since I do the same thing! I wondered how it was working out for you. Thanks!

  7. 7
    Louisa says

    This is a great idea and I can see it’s exactly what I need to do. Trouble is, I am notebooks and diaries r us, I start them in a blaze of good intent and then forget to update them and eventually shove them in a drawer so that I can stop feeling ashamed everytime I look at one. Any tips for how to get over that would be muchly appreciated!

  8. 8
    Marie-Claire says

    You are sooo right! It’s important to get it out of the head and onto the paper. I love your expression, “brain dump”!! Thanks for the tips.

  9. 9
    Andrea says

    I just bought a notebook for my lists. Thanks for the tips!

  10. 10
    Stormy says

    I am in bad need of a notebook. In fact, as soon as I get up from the computer I’m going to get one out of my stash and put it in my purse.

    We are moving to Texas from Georgia in 59 days and there is soo much to do between now and then . I keep writing stuff down when I think of things we need to do before we leave (dog shots, vet papers, change of address forms, etc, etc, etc, etc), but I keep losing the sheets of paper. So yes, a notebook is exactly what I need! Thanks for this post!

  11. 11
    Joanna says

    I think a list notebook is a great idea. And a page for each week makes terrific sense. Thanks! Now if I could just keep my two-year-old from making it her coloring notebook I’d be in good shape :)

  12. 12
    Amy says

    I do the same thing with highlighting completed tasks. I find it much easier than to go back and get a phone number, confirmation number, etc if I need it later down the road than if I’d crossed it off. I also like you idea of a new page every few weeks. I’ve struggled with when to move on, myself… I also keep a big binder clip on the front of mine to hold things like bills, etc until they are paid and filed for the month.

  13. 13
    Candice says

    I am a huge list writer, your post is exactly how I am constantly telling people to make their lives easier. I love that there’s more then one person who lives by a notebook.

  14. 14
    Erin says

    Thanks for the tips! I recently figured out what was causing sleepless nights and emotional roller coasters–I was trying to keep mental notes of EVERYTHING I needed to do in the coming days, and weeks! So, I just started making lists for myself and am seeing a whole new person! Less stressed, more rested, and over all more happy! I now am going to go on a notebook hunt so I can keep my list in one place! Thanks for the tips!!

  15. 15
    Tamsin says

    I love making lists!!.. I think that it calms my mind. I do love your method of highlighting the accomplished tasks. I tend to just cross things off the list, but I always love looking at what I have already crossed off for a sense of accomplishment and to boost my esteam when completing tasks seems next to impossible. Love this post!

  16. 16
    ter@waaoms says

    I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed but for different reasons!

  17. 17
    Jennifer says

    I love, love, love notebooks! I make a list for anything and everything. The best part… I usually stock up on them at the back-to-school sales.

  18. 18
    AmyBean says

    We’re moving at the end of the month too — Philadelphia to Nebraska. I’m excited, but kind of stressed. Thanks for this tip — I might pick up a small notebook for myself so I can keep lists. Right now I’m in paralyzed mode. I’m so overwhelmed that I end up doing nothing. Blah.

  19. 19
    Carol says

    that’s going to be me! i’m also using a notebook like this. same size, same lines. except that i change pages everyday. ah, with the work i’m doing today, i can fill one page in half a day. i do get to copy and move some tasks to the next day but they’re just a few. maybe when it’s not this busy the pages would be changed weekly. so looking forward to that. we’re also moving btw. once the house construction is finished. it’s taking so long. i wonder if those extreme makeovers in a week are really possible?

  20. 20
    Ginny says

    My daughter got married last Saturday, and I would have been lost without my mother-of-the-bride notebook that I made. My daughter wasn’t keeping track, or simply wasn’t aware of all the details that needed to be attended to (she’s a full-time college student, so that was probably part of it), so it fell to me to keep things on track. There are lots of pages left in the notebook, so I’ll save it for when I plan my other daughter’s wedding, whenever that may happen!

  21. 21
    Norell says

    I can’t live without my lists. I feel exactly the same – better to write it down than to keep it floating around in my head driving me crazy. I have been told by many that I have OCD because I am so organized and keep everything in its designated spot (usually on a labeled shelf or in a labeled container). If being organized is an illness, that’s okay with me!!
    When I saw the name of your blog – I knew I had found a kindred soul.

  22. 22
    tamara says

    I have lists but i keep them in my diary. I do this for a number of reason but primarily because i have a high health needs disabled son where dates are important in the big picture. Along with date for DS I keep work (supply teaching) and things to do. I high light the days I work in one colour for cross reference purposes, different colour high light with DS apts and important data as for the lists I write them out each day and asterix anthing requiring urgent attention. I carry a pen in it so I write when I need to. I cross out as completed and colour page corners with information I am going to need again. I dont think my system could be replicated electronically with ease and an improvement in the technology I have.

  23. 23
    Trina@JoyAndContentment says

    I switched to a notebook a little over a year ago and LOVE it. I was so tired of scraps of paper and backs of envelopes all over the place, so this was my way of writing everything down and having it in one place. While it does contain all my lists, it also includes things like shopping lists, work-related notes, homeschooling ideas, blog ideas, phone numbers or any other important things I need to write down at any given time. Mine is the same size as yours so it slides nicely into my purse, which is a good thing because I carry it with me ALL the time. I must try the highlighter idea — a much better (and prettier) way to mark progress. Thanks Laura!!

  24. 24
    Amanda says

    I’m a big time list user, and even though I now keep all of my lists in my Blackberry, I used to be a pen and paper girl. One thing I found useful was to ‘reschedule’ re-occuring tasks. For example, if I need to call to make an appointment for the kids yearly check-up, once I’ve completed this, before I cross it off my list, I add it to next years calendar to complete the same task again.

    • 24.1
      FoodontheTable says

      I’m with you – I set an alarm on my iPhone for just about everything that needs to get done. If I hear an alarm, I’ll go do it!

  25. 25
    Liz says

    WOW, this is a great article. I am consistently placing lists all over and making last minute lists, when heading out the door. Yes, my brain is boggled with things I must complete 1-2 months from the day. I will definatley be using this int he future. I also love old fashion pen and paper!

  26. 26
    Megs says

    My husband and i email our updated lists to each other and ourselves. We keep the most updated list email on our blackberries for easy reference!

  27. 27
    Sharisse says

    OMG!! This is SO me!! After 4 months of negotiating DH and I finally closed and moved to a new house this past weekend. I use http://www.busybodybook.com and have found it to be a life saver. I used one many years ago then switched to apps on my Iphone only to find I was fooling myself and am truly a paper and pen girl. I feel so lost without it. I like the highlighter idea and must use that one.

  28. 28
    Laurel says

    My planner is my notebook! I have used a planner since high school, over 30yrs ago. Love my planner, even though I have a blackberry, I have to have the planner, the writing is cathartic. I also have a notebook for the house. With paint swatches in it so I remember the colors that we used.
    Good luck on the move, we did ours in November, the week b4 Thanksgiving. When we put our house on the market we got a storage unit and started packing then, also we took about half of the furniture, art, pictures etc. out and stored it. We bought a foreclosure, so we did not know for sure the closing date, it kept changing, but we had just about everything packed, except a weeks worth of clothing for everyone. Then when we closed, getting out of house and into the new one was easy. We also had time after to get the storage unit emptied. Small batches at a time. So things could be put away before more was brought in. We tossed alot before and after we moved, the local thrift stores loved us!

  29. 29
    Allison says

    I’m a technology person. And I *LOVE* Google. LOVE. It.

    Google calenders make my life so much easier. I carry a cell phone (an HTC android phone, which runs google designed software) and I have an iPod Touch. I’d have an iPhone but work paid for my cell, so I can’t complain.

    At work we have a shared google calender for our Unit. We (the four of us plus our supervisor and our boss) can put items on the calender. This organizes the work day. Then I have multiple calenders which are all (by default and design) colour coded. I have a calender for each of my children, one for our family as a whole, one for just me, one for just the hubby. then we have a shared Hockey calender for everyone on our team, and one for the Men’s team my hubby plays on.

    On top of that, you can sign up for calenders that Google has designed. I also subscribe to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers calender because my hubby is a Season Ticket holder, so this way it’s just on the calender when he is going to a game, no extra work for me!

    With those calenders, you can set reminders as well. You can have it pop up on your iPod. You can have them pop up on your desktop computer (great at work) or sent as a text message to your cell phone.

    You can make tasks with Google that then appear on your calender. It’s all super handy.

    I’m “hooked in” and “online” everywhere I go, so this is the perfect system for me. I’d recommend it for everyone who uses “smart” technology, iPods, iPhones, Smart Phones, etc.

  30. 30
    Viviana says

    I love your Marimeko notebook. I wrote a post about lists and getting things done using the Autofocus system, http://tinyurl.com/2w73ovd. Autofocus is very similar to your way of making a list and crossing off. I have found that I am much more productive since starting to make lists in a specific notebook.

  31. 31
    s says

    I do this with work tasks and its sooo rewarding at the end of a crazy day to actually be able to cross items off when I feel like I haven’t accomplished one thing.

    I need to do the notebook thing for home and maybe divide it into sections – one for things I need to do, one for bigger projects and the various tasks that go under there, and then one for things i need to buy like kid clothes etc. One of my projects this summer HAS to be decluttering and I am in much need for a notebook because that project makes me want to hide in a closet, if only I had one that was cleared out.

  32. 32
    Marci says

    Love this idea! I tried this once before, but not with much effort to keep using it. I love your idea of highlighting, and moving tasks forward. I’m going to do it this time!! :)
    I can’t wait to get my NEW NOTEBOOK! I love them, and all office supplies, actually. I have since I was a little kid.
    I just bought some sticky notes and sticky page markers yesterday…50% off! :) I just can’t resist! :)
    Off to the store soon!! :)

    • 32.1
      Laura says

      Sounds like a great deal!

  33. 33
    moving boxes says

    I love your suggestions! When people are moving it is so easy to feel stressed by how much there is to do.

    I thought it was a great idea too to batch things together also. This would be particularly helpful when moving.

    Question: what are your thoughts on using IPHONE applications to do lists versus on paper?

    • 33.1
      Laura says

      I’m not so sure, my cell phone is about 6 years old and has no app anything :) I almost always find though that these types of applications designed to make our lives easier, just complicate matters more.

  34. 34
    Lauren says

    I’ve been using nearly the same exact system for almost a year. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! It works perfectly for me. A portable place to drop my thoughts frees my brain to concentrate and/or relax when necessary!

  35. 35
    Sarah says

    I am a habitual list maker. I love to get it out of my head and on to paper. Not to mention the satisfaction of crossing a done deed off the list!! I have never heard or thought of using a notebook specifically for my lists. I love the idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

  36. 36
    Peggy says

    So you have a notebook and a calendar? What kind of calendar? I have one of the planner things and wondering if I should slip some empty pages in the beginning of each month to do something similar. I have all the info I need in there. (no electronic devices for me)

    Just curious what others do

    • 36.1
      Laura says

      Hi Peggy, I only keep one central calendar in my home that everyone has access to and uses. I’m a bit of a calendar junkie but we only write on one :)

      Here’s a post I did on it:

      http://bit.ly/9ul5QZ

  37. 37
    Becky L says

    Thanks for the notebook idea. I usually make lists on small paper that I’ve recycled. I guess if I’d write down all I need to do, which includes some sewing projects, maybe I’d get them done.
    I will keep the sale of your house and your move in my prayers. That has got to be stressful. I remember when we moved from NM to OR 21 years ago, how much stuff there was to be done. Good thing there were movers but then again, we couldn’t find a few things when we did move for a few months….the joys of moving. Take care!

    • 37.1
      Laura says

      Thank you for the prayers, I really appreciate it!

  38. 38
    Tasha says

    I LOVE notebooks…well any kind of office supply really I have a problem lol and it appears I have also passed this on to Torey as well, it is a miracle if we go to walmart and don’t come home with new pens or notebooks or something along those lines…..I don’t even allow myself to go into Staples or any office supply store lol I can’t help myself I may need a help group lol. I don’t have a notebook for lists but I have them for all my knitting stuff, orders,stock etc. I think I will have to start a list book though it is a great idea :)

  39. 39
    Mom's Menu Planner says

    What a great idea :) I make lists constantly but I always seem to misplace them…using a spiral bound notebook would definitely help me stay more organized!

  40. 40
    Sue says

    I do this too. :-) Although I just put short notes down & that helps get stuff out of my brain…. I use a ‘Daily Planner’ that I got from the Dollar Tree. Each page is broken down into sections. At the top it lists the days -Sunday through Saturday (I just circle one) and then there is a space for the Date. Then there is a Schedule – It lists the time down the side of the page from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. The next section is the To Do List – with 20 lines under it. Then there are 2 more sections one with a picture of a phone and another with a picture of an envelope. I put emails & snail mail I have to send out under that area. If there is something that I know needs to be done in the next day or two, I page over & write it on that day. I usually only have a couple of things that I have on my to do list that I haven’t accomplished & I easily transfer them to the next day if necessary. I do this while I’m having my coffee & computer time in the morning.

  41. 41
    Suzanne says

    You know, I do this for work since there are so many things I cannot forget, and I love it. I feel like I can let go. As for home, my notes are in a variety of places, and I’m trying to use my Daytimer at home too, to remember all the little things I have to do. Great ideas and I love the accompanying photos!

  42. 42
    Pam says

    Great suggestions. I like the spiral notebook idea; have been using post-its then throwing them away; forget which things I’ve done and which I haven’t. :o)

  43. 43
    MomsManyProjects says

    I love notebooks and lists!!!! I also use iCal on my computer and a 3 month magnetic calendar on my fridge!

  44. 44
    Laura says

    I love this idea! It’s so simple, yet effective. I am going to give it a shot. I have tried various planner and online apps, but it just doesn’t seem to “stick”. I am a pen and paper girl at heart. There is something so rewarding about crossing things off when you have completed them. Thanks for sharing!

  45. 45
    Jennifer Tankersley says

    Aw, lists. This is why we should always be friends, Laura! Are you planning to go to any conferences this year? I would love a chance to meet you in person. I know you are about to move so it may not fit into your schedule this year. Someday.

  46. 46
    screwdestiny says

    Wow, this is one of the things that makes me really glad to not have a family. I make lists, but generally they’re just the average to-do list, that I make at the beginning of the day, and it’ll have anywhere from like, three to eight items on it. On most days I can get everything done, unless I’m purposely procrastinating. Never would I have so many things to do that I’d need to have a week or two to get it done. I don’t know how all you women do it…

  47. 47
    Barb Jones says

    I am moving in three weeks and my lists are my lifesavers!

  48. 48
    Jetta Broom says

    Hi Laura, You have a great site. I found it through a zemanta connection on my blog. I wrote a short piece about lists (comedic) and found your blog above. It complemented my short piece quite well. You have some very good tips on here. I will recommend your site on my blog.

  49. 49
    Terri says

    Thank you for this wonderful idea!! I have always make general lists like clean bathroom, pick up toys, change linens, dust. My living room, since Christmas, has been a complete disaster!! Seeing my new to do list broken down makes it full doable and makes it easier for me to get the kids involved!! I blogged about it here (http://cardsscrapbooksandsuch.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-years-resolution-to-get-organized.html). I look forward to doing your 52 week challenge!

  50. 50
    Jen-MamaZen says

    Wow, so simple! I tend to keep this all in my head, but I am a paper and pen girl too, so this is nice to see. I love to have it all out in front of me and NOT in my head. Thanks for sharing this!

  51. 51
    Robin B says

    Hello, I am SSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOO happy I found this. I am a BIG lister…I was making a new list every day, and I never even thought of a list a week, it does seem like a no brainer after I read you post…Infact I am now re-doing my little notebook. Mine is 9″x 7″ I have about 100 of these things layign around and I love to buy them down to our dollar store, and like I said I make lists, now I just have to learn to put everything on 1 list per week, that gives me little more time to do everything. Thank you again…

  52. 52
    Jamie says

    Love this idea!

  53. 53
    Sarahna says

    I loveeee this idea! And like you i adore stationery….journals, notebooks, planners, pens, etc!
    I was feeling that same way….totally overwhelmed by all the things i needed to get done…. so i went out and got myself a pretty purple ink pen and got to writing…. 3 pages later I felt like a huge weight had been lifted.

    I’ve actually been using up the space on past dates in my planner so that I don’t end up with a not fully used planner by 31st december AND i have my calendar right there.

    Thanks for the tip on a book to do both….. Bluesky :)

  54. 54
    Parthenia says

    I am so excited to have come across this website. You are a God-send! As I read your info and tips, I am becoming increasingly inspired and encouraged. We have many things in common and I am going to enjoy reading and learning from you!!

  55. 55
    Wilson Family Adventures says

    If I know that I have large projects that are not going to be completed immediately, but I don’t want to forget them, I have a page int he front of the notebook (on the left side) so it faces the daily “to do” list (on the right). I always have to see that page when I open up my notebook, so it helps me to find time to complete and I can sill remove the right hand page for my smaller tasks.

  56. 56
    Addie says

    Not only was this article helpful — I especially loved the highlighting idea — but I also picked up some great ideas from the posted comments! Yay!

    Below is another tip I’ve found helpful, especially at work when a list item requires several hours to complete; it’s a modified step from the Pomodoro Technique (PT)(www.pomodorotechnique.com):

    1) I set a timer for 25 minutes [can use cell phone app, kitchen timer, free online timers, etc.] and then work — *withOUT* taking breaks, answering the phone, checking emails, browsing the Internet, etc. — until the timer goes off.
    2) To the right of the task, I then mark an “X.” If I was working down my list, top to bottom, and completed multiple tasks during that timeframe, I bracket them and mark an “X” to the right of the bracket.

    When looking back over my list at the end of the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment at all the Xs (or hashmarks, stars — anything).

    The PT suggests 3- to 5-minute breaks between each 25 minutes — therefore, two Xs represent roughly one hour — but I often work back-to-back; I may start doing 20- or 30-minute increments.

    I find this method most gratifying when a task is time intensive but doesn’t necessarily have mini-tasks associated with it that I can cross off (e.g., writing an article, designing a flyer, researching an issue): Even though I may be marking off only one item, the Xs listed behind it give me a sense of accomplishment — and reaffirm that I’ve been productive after several hours, even if I AM only crossing off one item!

  57. 57
    Cathy says

    I love this! I use a notebook for my daily list. I also use it for notes when I have a phone call to make. I make a new list everyday but am going to change this. I find I get discouraged if I write the same task day after day and writing it once, then highlighting and dating will make these stand out. Then, when I make a new list, I can decide if this is still a priority.

    I just found your blog today and love everything I’ve seen so far! Mthanks for sharing your insights.

    Cathy EB

  58. 58
    Fizzah says

    Okay, I think I’m hooked on your blog! I can’t stop reading…we do a lot of things very similarly. I’ve already learned a few things and will be applying them soon. Funny how excited I feel when I have to organize haha! I was wondering if you separate your “work” list and your “personal” list. I’ve tried it both ways…I prefer having one big master list but sometimes I feel more easily distracted if my work and personal lists are combined. Plus I really am trying to keep a work-life separation/balance if that is possible :) Just wondering how you handle that as far as your list making goes.

    • 58.1
      Laura says

      I keep one list book for both business and personal. I just mix them all up together. I tried separating them but it became too confusing for me.

  59. 59
    Lisa Gribler says

    I have been using your “List Notebook” for about 2 months & it has literally changed my life!! I feel so much clearer mentally now that I’m not trying to remember everything! It was a real lifesaver for my at the end of the school year & it totally got me through all my paperwork & meetings! My son is getting married next month, so now there are lists for bridal shower gifts & decoration supplies. I have turned into such a list notebook fanatic that I tell everyone I know about it! My future daughter-in-law & a co-worker who is also getting married are both getting “special” list notebooks that I’m making for them! Thank you, thank you SO much!!

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