I find that keeping my to-do list near me at all times helps keep me on track. One thing I've struggled with over the years is making sure my long-term goals and priorities make it onto that list.
At Christmas time, I used these guidelines to stay on track and I found them to be a really effective way to balance my time. Instead of writing everything down that I had to get done in no particular order, I only wrote FIVE THINGS on my list. Then, I did the work to get them done ASAP so I could move onto other things.
The "Five Things" Daily To-Do List
#1. The Quick-and-Easy Thing
Create momentum by starting your list with something you’ve been putting off, but will take less than five minutes to complete. Examples include making a dental appointment, RSVPing to a party, or answering an email.
#2. The Time-Sensitive Thing
Next, add something to your list that MUST get done today. These are the things that will suffer consequences if not completed in a timely manner, like dropping gifts in the mail to out-of-town relatives so they’ll arrive on time or completing a task at work by its deadline.
#3. The I-Don’t-Want-To-Do-That Thing
This is the thing on your list that you least want to do, but needs to be done. It may or may not be time-sensitive, but being able to cross it off your list will feel like a burden has been lifted.
#4. The Quality-of-Life Thing
Don’t let all the other things on your to-do list prevent you from the important things in life. Schedule time for baking holiday cookies with the kids, starting a new family tradition, or writing a nice thank-you note. What things really matter to you? Don’t let the minutiae of everyday life get in the way of the important things. What can you do to truly ENJOY life today?
#5. The Take-Care-of-YOU Thing
These are the things that we as moms tend to overlook. Whether it’s getting some extra rest, working out, or devoting your child’s nap time to reading a few chapters in your favorite book – these things have an impact on your well-being. They are definitely the easiest things to let slide this time of year, which is the main reason why it’s important to add them back into your routine. When you nurture yourself, you’re in a much better position to take care of others and feel energized to take on other important tasks.
Besides those five things each day, I try to write down 2-3 baby steps I can make towards accomplishing my long-term goals over a weeks' time. They should be easily attainable, otherwise you'll be settting yourself up for failure. I created a .pdf below that includes the "Five Things" list as well as my Top Ten Goals and what I can do to make progress on them each week.
Assignment: Either use the Forget the Joneses Weekly Task Sheet I have here or create your own way of keeping track of the important things you need to do each week. If you keep them from week to week in your Forget the Joneses Project Binder, after a short period of time you'll really be able to look back on and measure your progress.
What methods of keeping yourself accountable and on track work best for you?