Friday, January 7, 2011

It's on my list of things to do....

Is it? Is it really? Do you actually write your goals down?
Did you know that people who write down their goals (daily to-do lists, short term goals, long term goals, etc) are significantly more likely to achieve or accomplish their goals than people who use "mental lists" and "mental notes to self"??

Did you know that people who are more efficient in life with managing their time, getting tasks done, being productive, AND still managing time for things they WANT to do (e.g. hobbies, travel, relax, TV, etc) are generally happier, healthier, and require a lot less time on a therapist's couch?
Yeah, that's right... they also tend to feel more productive, more successful, and have less stress, better sleep patterns, and better relationships with others.

"Until you commit your goals to paper, you have intentions that are seeds without soil."

I write down a list every morning (or the night before) of everything I need or want to do that day (the next day).
This gives me a road map of what my time management needs to look like.

I keep the goals realistic - I don't write down more than I can realistically accomplish in one day.
I also keep the goals (or to-do list items) specific, which for me is the key to getting them done.
For example, I don't write down "Clean the kitchen" or "Write 12 articles" or "Get homework done"

I write down things like:
  • Wipe down the kitchen counters
  • Wipe off the stove
  • Empty dishwasher and clean the dishes
  • Do assignment 3 for Module 5 (homework)
  • Read pages .... to ..... (homework)
  • Dust the TV stand and speakers
  • Dust the bookcase
  • Vacuum the living room
  • ......
  • ......
  • etc.
For my work-related items, I write down the company the articles are for, then make a list of the article titles so I can cross each off as I finish them:
Demand Studios
  • How to Fit Dimmer Switches
  • How to Make a Martha Washington Costume
  • .....
  • ......
  • ......
  • etc.
And I make the list to include at least 10 articles, if that's what I plan to write that day. Then write down another company, such as the Examiner, and write the titles or topics of articles I'll write for those positions... and so forth.

Do you have children? By teaching them to do this, you can reduce frustration with school and life later! They are never too young to start learning to be more organized and more efficient with their life management, or perhaps "clock management" (like in Football haha).

Help your children lay out plans for their school assignments, working on long projects little by little (e.g. read 10 pages a day, but write the page numbers down for each day's list) and you will save yourself a TON of arguments later and help your children work more efficiently which will make them more productive when they become adults and have careers.

For my daily to-do lists, I can use an App on my phone or iPad, but I prefer to use index cards and paper. For school assignments, household tasks, or running errands, I write my to-do list on the blank side of a ruled 3-by-5 index card, holding it with the 3-inch sides on the top and bottom, resembling a small sheet of paper. I prefer the ruled index cards because they seem stiffer and more durable than the completely blank ones.

For my work assignments, whether writing or web design or Coach tasks, I fold an 8.5-by-11 inch piece of paper in half and write the day's list out on one side. This allows me to turn the paper over and write on the other side the next day, and use the inside for notes while researching articles for the day, or for tomorrow's work.

I also use colored pens. Staples sells these clear plastic boxes of 7mm tip gel pens and I use those to write out my tasks. I use a different color for different work sites; for example, I'll write my Demand Studios assignments in dark blue, then my Examiner assignments in purple, Suite101 in pink, Experts123 in dark green, and so forth.

When I cross out a completed task, I use a black marker and put a line right through it! This shows me I finished, and it's a visual representation of the work I accomplished in one day!!

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