Over the years I’ve tried a myriad of planners and planning styles: online, on my phone, a day timer, calendar on the fridge, and even a notebook filled with pages of lists. Once I used a software program called “Bob.” Bob was a talking dog that was supposed to keep my life organized–he didn’t.
For several years now I have opted for one sheet of paper. Nothing fancy. Just one sheet of college ruled paper on a clip board. That’s it.
I was encouraged to read Mark Jevert’s post, Eight Questions, on Ken Davis’ blog recently. More structured than my system, Mr. Jevert uses a single planning sheet a week too. It gave me a bit of confidence to know there’s nothing wrong with a simple method. It more important to find what works best individually and use it.
On Sunday afternoon I take a few minutes to create my To Do list for the upcoming week. Armed with a single sheet of college ruled paper, a pen, and my master calendar it takes less than 15 minutes to complete.
The first thing I to do is look over last week’s list and see if any undone items need to move forward. I have found some To Do items are time wasters sitting on my list to mock and distract me. Only what is important to maintaining family peace and unity is added to the new week’s list. It is not about listing all that could be done, just what is important for the upcoming week.
Cut out the Foolishness (insert Nece Nash’s voice from Clean House here)
Things can pile up and make a great big pile of foolishness. Did you know you can get three columns front and back on a single ruled sheet of paper? You can and I’ve done it. Just because it’s one lone sheet of paper does not mean it cannot become unwieldy! Nowadays I try to have one column or less per week. This means everyday life, such as “get dressed” is not included.
It’s for a Week
My list is what I hope to accomplish, Lord willing, during the next seven days. In the past, to do items were listed according to each room of the house. Not much was accomplished because it was an overwhelming never-ending list. Now appointments, phone calls to make, weekly items I tend to forget such as balance checkbook / pay bills and clip coupons lead my list. Usually two to four family projects such as cleaning out a closet, pressure washing the patio, or painting are listed. I write the name of the family member next to the project. Errands are listed along with anything that comes to mind during the week. It’s not unusual to find my grocery list on the flip-side.
It’s Not to Rule Our Lives
In times past my list ruled my life. It told me what to do, when to do it, and the urgency it demanded. Now, it’s just a piece of paper. It’s simply to help me not forget. It does not take the place of the Lord’s direction for my week. My to do list simplifies my week, saves time, and has cultivated a habit of not feeling like I have to make everything happen in the next 24 hours.
What worked for me as a working mom no longer works as a homeschooling mom of four. The key is finding what works best–and sometimes it’s not fancy, expensive, or complicated. Even a single sheet of college ruled paper can do the job.
What type of to do list or system do you use?