Living With Lists: Getting Things Done The Simple Way

We can learn to live our life more simply — and decrease stress — by learning to make use of lists. A list can be beneficial for so many reasons. One, it helps us to see what needs to be done. Two, it helps us to prioritize. And three, we get to cross things off as they're completed. 

Writing out a list gives us a goal for the day, week, or month. It helps us to recognize tasks that we would like to complete in a given period of time. As you're writing out your list, consider something: what do you need to do for the day/week? Be sure to put these things at the top of the list or in their own category. They are your priority. 

Now think about other tasks or activities that you want to do, time permitting. Add them! Be sure to put some fun things on that list — we all deserve to have a little fun, right? 

Now that you have your map — a list of things to do — you can work towards where you need to be! You may be super disciplined and do all on the need list first with the want list as your motivating factor to get to after. Or, you may do a few from this list and then choose to reward yourself with things you actually want to do. Find what works for you, but be sure to prioritize the things on the need list. 

What can work by itself?

There may be some things on your list that don't need much help from you. An example — the washing. Sure, you need to put it in the machine and set it going, but then you can leave it alone for 45 minutes or so to do its own thing. I love these tasks. As long as you can get the washing started, it will work away being productive for you until it's ready to hang out or dry. 

I often put a load of washing on when the house is silent, before the kids wake up! It's great to know that this is happening in the background whilst I tend to my littles once they're awake. Something productive from my list is happening, even when I'm not doing it— perfect!

Are there other tasks like this? Do you really need to dry the dishes, or can they sit and dry all by themselves? Picking up toys after your children — do you need to do that? Or can you teach them about responsibility and have them do it instead? 

Are there tasks that need the perfect environment before you can work on them? Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise? We don't have a dryer at home, so when we get gorgeous sun, I do as much washing as I possibly can on that day in case the rest of the week is cold and wet. It feels great to get all of the family washing out of the way in the course of a day!

Learn to make lists for yourself. At the end of the day or week it is great to be able to see what you've achieved. Look at all the things you've crossed off your list — if you've managed to get through all of the needs list and a few extras, go you! Be sure to congratulate yourself as you achieve what you need to, and then some!

Get excited about making lists. They give a sense of direction and can help you prioritize. It makes organizing your day a lot easier — especially when you need to work around the family or other commitments.