Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lost Without My Lists

I feel like I've gotten so much accomplished today! I'm sure this is partly because I've not gotten much at all done all week because I was feeling sick, but it's also because I actually sat down and got organized today. I started out by making my lists again, something I'd neglected since I got back home from MI. My morning routine consists of:

1. Get Up, Get Clean, Get Dressed
2. Listen to Readings
3. Empty Dishwasher and Drainer, wash all dirty dishes on the counter, and wipe down the surfaces
4. Make the Bed and Tidy the Bedroom
5. Clean Litter Boxes, Change Trash, and Feed Cats

I make sure that I do these five things every morning. Doing this helps my day go so much more smoothly. These are the bare minimum requirements to keep my house comfortable and make it possible to cook meals and feel relaxed.

I also make a to do list every morning of things specific to the day. I always ask Ben if there's anything that I can do for him during the day, and I usually just think of what I have to be prepared for in the coming day or week. Sometimes this includes things that happen at least once a week, like cleaning the floors on Monday or washing the sheets on Friday. Sometimes I write down very simple things that are important not to forget, like today I had to make sure to call my sister, because it's her birthday. (Happy Birthday, Donna!) Sometimes these are projects I have to finish or make progress on or maybe just remembering to take meat out of the freezer for the next day's meals. I might have a very big project one day, like baking lots of muffins to freeze, or something small, like finally remembering to hem pants or sew a button on for Ben.

Today, I had laundry to catch up on, and I wanted to be sure to finish the Easter banner that I embroidered. I also had some articles to write for Associated Content. Also on my list for today is mixing up some 18 hour bread, so we can have it for lunch tomorrow.

By writing down my morning routine, I'm reminded to do things that are not quite automatic habit for me, and motivated to finish the tasks that I may not enjoy so much. And by mixing the chores on my to do list every day, I find that I can get so much more done in a day because it keeps me on task and I don't have to stop and think about what to do next. I can also be sure that I'm balancing the, um, not so inspiring homemaking work, like dishes and floors, with the things that I really enjoy and get me motivated, like baking and needlework.

I'm planning to institute an afternoon routine as well, now that I've gotten firmly in the habit of writing down and checking my morning routine at the bottom of each day's to do list. My afternoon routine now looks something like this:
1. Empty dish drainer
2. Set up Ben's coffee grinder and coffee maker for the morning
3. Prepare anything for dinner that needs to be made
4. Finish any laundry still in the washer or dryer
5. Bring in and sort the mail, pay any bills or answer any letters

I may change this around as I start to put it into practice consistently. The important part is that I have these routines in place before I start having outdoor work in the garden and canning to add to the lists everyday. I don't want the interior of my home to suffer while I'm learning to garden this spring and summer.

I find that my to do lists are very quickly becoming my most valuable tool for homemaking. I'd never before found a way to make them work for me, but this system is working beautifully, and I think it could be adapted to many lifestyles. How about you? Do you use lists for your tasks? How do you make to do lists work for you?

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3 comments:

REAL ME said...

I love lists and routine. I have gotten out of the habit the last few months and I am now seeing a big change and now appreciate them a lot more. I need to start back. Thanks for the motivation.

Sherry said...

I am a perpetual listmaker too! I'd be lost without them, seriously. I make lists for everything.

I also use a recipe box filled w/ 3x5 cards with daily chores, weekly chores, etc. on them and rotate them from day to day or week to week.

I belong to a local FlyLady group and I post my "ta do" lists on there and then check in at the end of the day. it keeps me motivated and on track!

Sherry

http://frugaldomesticgoddess.blogspot.com/2008/03/making-your-home-haven-monday.html

Bethany said...

Thank you for joining me ladies. I'm glad I'm not the only one who needs my lists to be able to function!

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