Fresh Eyes for Your To-Do List

We organized folks love our to-do lists, don’t we?  Egged on by experts like David Allen, we nod in vigorous agreement that tasks are better out of our head and down on paper, where we can review and prioritize them to our heart’s content.

But if you’re anything like me, you can soon find yourself the prisoner of a very, very long list, where everything from wash the sheets to learn Spanish is lurking. Most days, no matter how hard I work or how productive I am, there is always stuff on the list which has not been crossed off.  And since this appears to be the natural order of things, I am becoming more interested in figuring out which tasks are more important than others.

In recent weeks, I have come across a couple of really useful concepts which have transformed how I feel about my lists. Could they work for you, too?

Repeaters or Completers?

Hop Skip Jump Paper, Etsy

Hop Skip Jump Paper, Etsy

The first is an expression I heard from Margaret Lukens, a wonderful professional organizer and productivity coach who did tell me who the inventor of this concept was, and I’ve forgotten. Sorry.  Nonetheless, I suggest you divide your list into Repeaters and Completers and see if you feel differently about it.

Repeater examples: buy groceries, vacuum, floss teeth, check bank statement, pull weeds, call parents.
Completer examples: set up a file system, book a flight to London, paint the guest bedroom, buy new socks.

Repeaters are things which you can probably skip and they’ll still be there next week. Or, you can do them, and hey presto, they’ll still need to be done next week or next month.  Oh joy.  Completers, on the other hand, actually move you forward.  Once the task is done, it won’t need to be done again (until all your socks are worn out, of course). Read more…

Sniff Out Your Stress Sources

So much is written about Stress Reduction techniques these days that I was honestly wondering what value I could add to the topic.  In doing so, I realized that I rarely see encouragement to pause for a moment and consider what is really triggering your stress in the first place.

Of course, if your cat is sick, your husband lost his job and your mother is dating Charlie Sheen, you will have some obvious stress sources in your life.  But what about the daily, ongoing stress which sits on your shoulder as a chattering monkey, or snaps at your heels like a tireless terrier?

I believe a first step to reducing stress is to ponder where it’s coming from. It might be:

Home Studio, via Etsy

Home Studio, via Etsy

~ Information stress: too much, coming too fast, from too many sources.

~ Spending too much time doing things you don’t love.

~ Unrealistic expectations of how much you can get done in a day. Read more…

Are You Leveraging Yourself Effectively?

There is only one of me and only 24 hours in the day.  (And of those hours, I only really like to be awake for about 15!).  So I’ve been noodling on a problem faced by many small business owners, which is how to make the most effective use of my time.  It’s important to me to:

~ Work with people where I can make a difference.
~ Offer clients a range of options to suit their circumstances, needs and location.
~ Enable more people to learn about organizing, even if we don’t work one-on-one together.


"Leverage" by Ray Maseman, Etsy

I know from client feedback what a difference the organizing process can make to someone’s life and the feeling of relief it brings!  Read on for how I’m trying to leverage my time

The Five-Minute Meaningful Gesture

This week is Write a Letter of Appreciation Week.  I love this concept for three reasons:

  1. If you’re not already telling friends and family you appreciate them, make a start and see how much pleasure this brings to you, as well as them.
  2. Many of my clients are like me: we can’t resist buying cute thank you cards!  But then they just sit in a dark and lonely drawer.  Where’s the good in that?
  3. A note like this literally takes 5 minutes to write.  That makes it a great way to use spare time, while you’re waiting for something else to happen.

Top row: NiceDay Designs, Inkspot Workshop, 2 Hearts Desire
Bottom row: Paper Sheep, BLJ Graves, PaperMill Designs

Why not keep a couple of notes, with stamps, in your car or purse? And start using your little fragments of time to let someone know you’re thinking of them.

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