The other day, my client and I were discussing how fatigued she gets after going through the clutter (clothing, papers, books, etc...). Here is my take on the organizing process. Not making decisions turns into an incomplete action. Let's compare it to a little pebble that stays in your mind until the action is completed. Over time, the incomplete activities, the pebbles, start weighing on your mind. You may not know it, but all those pebbles will slow you down and not allow you to move forward and complete the actions. When you have an excessive amount of pebbles (incomplete actions), and you spend several hours making decisions and taking action (like my clients and I do in our consultations), your mind starts to feel overloaded. It is like the feeling you have a few days after you begin a restricted diet or the day after your first day at the gym in a while. You feel fatigue, and your muscles are weak. It makes you not want to do it again, ever! But, wait, if you don’t continue to complete actions, you WILL be reforming those pebbles in your mind! So, what can you do about it? You can make decisions and act right now when the task presents it. Here are two ways to reduce stress in your life:
Do not start a new task until the previous step is completed.
Make lists to take all those pebbles out of your mind.
If you pick number 2, there are checklists to reduce stress in your life and help you to focus and complete the tasks at hand without too much stress. I have used these lists at various times in my life. I hope they help you too.
13 Checklists to make your life more organized
- Cleaning the house to do list: Having a checklist for each room helps make it a no-brainer when you are cleaning. It helps you stay consistent with your cleaning routine. Below is an example of a checklist for a particular Friday. You can have a checklist for each day if you want to split your cleaning duties up throughout the weekday.
- Spring cleaning to do list: Each spring we do some spring cleaning, but we may forget some if we don't have a list. Below is an example of the spring cleaning list.
- Cleaning complex appliances: Some appliances have special cleaning requirements. For example, water softeners have a particular solution you need to do each season or at least every six months. The grill has special cleaning, so you don't add flammable ingredients to the grill. Here's an example of my grilling season checklist. Visit the post here.
- Fall cleanout and Winterizing the home checklist: As we clean up the winter grime in the spring, we also need to prepare for the winter. Here's an example of a winterized checklist.
- Long-term financial goals list: divide this list into five year and ten year and 20-year sections. It is good to update this whenever life happens or once a year. Some long-term goals could be retirement planning, debt reduction, creating an emergency fund, buying a home, buying a second home, buying a car, and paying for college.
- Short-term financial goals list: this list is for goals that are less than a year old. It could be paying off some smaller debt or saving for a vacation for later this year. If you want to organize your billing area, you can also check out my What to Keep in Your Billing Station Checklist.
- Goals list for the year to improve yourself personally and professionally: I find that adding goals to this list helps you focus on the big picture of life and how you want to be as a person. You can divide this list into categories like taking care of yourself, spending time with family, physical health, and mental health. You can also include work organization, productivity, and professional relationship building goals.
- Preparing for sale checklist: If you are selling your home, this one is for you. What to improve the home for a move checklist Selling your home is stressful. So, writing everything down on a list to get your home ready for sale works nicely.
- Planning for a party checklist: Some parties are super easy to set up others take some planning. Graduation, landmark birthday parties, and small weddings are just some examples of these type of parties. The items you need to buy for a party checklist contains several pages to help you organize a large party.
- Invitee list for a party and other events list: Keeping a list with the frequently invited list of friends and family works great. It also gives you a list for your holiday greeting cards if you send them.
- What to do in your home list: this list could contain tasks for your existing home. You can get the complete list here.
- Research lists: This would be for items that need a little more research. You can create a bookmark on your browser to help yourself manage the researching items.
- Packing lists for vacation: This will help you manage your what to take on vacation stuff. If you are going on a cruise, visit this list. If you are looking to go to the shore, this checklist would work for you.
It's a pretty complete list of lists, right? Lol I know it sounds like overkill having all these lists. But, you usually don't do these tasks on a regular basis. So, instead of thinking what do I need to do or completely forgetting what to do, you can refer to your list. We are adults that need to remember a lot of stuff. Why make yourself crazy remembering every task? Let's take it easy instead and do.
Where should I store these lists?
I found that using a digital app allows you to pull it quickly and update it immediately. Look for an app that has lots of space for making lists work great. I am a fan of Evernote and Microsoft OneNote, but there are plenty of other list apps out there. Be sure you can create different lists in the app.
How should I start making a list?
There are two options I found useful in keeping lists updated.
For the technology person: In the Microsoft OneNote app, create a tab called checklists. Then, create a page for each list you want to make using the to-dos checkbox tag. You can also assign priorities for each of the tasks as well in the tag section. They have options like Important which is a star, To do priority 1, and to do priority 2.
For the non-technology person: Hang a large marker board or bulletin board in your home and attach all your lists to it. Using stickie notes, add each task for a particular list. When you need to add something to the list, place the new task on the sticky note and add it to the specific space under the list title. Don’t forget to remove already completed tasks! This board will be your visual reminder of what you need to do. You can use these lists in different areas of your home. You could display the financial goals list in the home office for example.
As a grown-up, you need to make time for all of your responsibilities. That includes taking care of yourself, your family, and being responsible for your actions and decisions. Create a list that works best for you, and that makes you feel empowered to continue and complete your tasks. I hope this inspires you to make lists to organize your life.
Let's continue the conversation. What lists do you make often? Do you reuse your lists? Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
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