To Do Lists

I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to write about this week–hence the decided lack of blogging here and The Girl Who Loved Zombies. It happens sometimes. But blogging is a big part of my weekly productivity, so I’ll be the first to admit my to do lists took kind of a blow this week. Then again, I almost never check everything off–there’s always more to do and not always the time or energy to do it. One reason I keep a list is that I try to keep track of what gets sacrificed from week to week. It might be yoga or reading or foreign language study. This isn’t so that I’ll feel bad about it, but rather so I know to continue to make adjustments, so that nothing disappears completely.

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Why a picture of the Mediterranean? Because I can.

 

In my view, a to do list isn’t a rigid account of what should happen during your day or week. Rather, it’s the means by which I impose a flexible structure. One of the reasons I’ve shifted to a weekly to do list is that I’m not the type of person to complete the same routine day in and day out. I might work on my volunteer projects the whole of Monday afternoon and not really look at them again until Thursday. I’ll write four blogs on Wednesday morning or a short story Tuesday night. But as long as I know what needs to be done, it works.

I think being organized is really much more about knowing yourself–what you need to accomplish what you want to do. Some people thrive with peer pressure or competition. Others do better when they have a concrete goal to pursue.

I wish I were better at front-loading the week, but I tend to be more productive Wednesday-Friday. Yesterday was my most productive day by far. It might be that I haven’t arranged my projects quite correctly yet. Maybe my Monday morning mentality would be better served studying CSS or reading. As always, it’s fine for it to change, so long as it gets done.

Do you use to do lists? How do you organize your time?

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2 thoughts on “To Do Lists

  1. My planner aka calendar as in the old-fashioned non-electronic kind, as in, A Woman’s Diary with illustrations from Susan Seddon Belout (I think I got her name right) and quotes from famous women artists and writers throughout (writers are artists) is what I use to make my on-going lists. This includes everything from appointments, as in: Doctor 3:00 pm, or the classes I teach: CWI (short for Creative Writing I) every Tuesday and Thursday until May 11th from 11-12:15. But it also includes when to send what bill, when to clean the house, what room to clean first. More importantly, it also catalogs all the writing ideas I have. For example, for a steady three years I’ve been wanting to find a way to incorporate a piece of overheard conversation into a work of fiction: “My family members are like cockroaches; they just don’t die.” If I haven’t done it yet, I put a line through it and then rewrite it into a slot for a day sometime in the near or distant future. I wonder how many times I’ve crossed it out and rewrote it. Obviously, if I do accomplish a task or idea, I get the INTENSE satisfaction of crossing it once and for all.

    Then I make more specific lists for major events or needs. For example, I’m a practicing witch so every six weeks my coven gathers at my house to celebrate the various sabbaths. Lists for these holidays look like this:

    1. Clean kitchen 2. Buy flowers 3. Make flower arrangement 4. Get thirteen candles 5. Find Yule log 6. Get firewood. 7. Buy wine.

    I LOVE list-making and lists always show up in my writing. I also have a mild case of OCD.

    • Your planner sounds gorgeous! My to do list strategy ends up being a combination of my Google Calendar (which is a beautifully color-coded rainbow), the checklist app on my phone, and legal pads. I also derive great satisfaction from crossing big projects off a list.

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