Tuesday, May 10, 2011

time management: the to-do list

Lately I've been thinking a lot about this subject. I taught a 60-minute segment at a woman's conference our church did, many years ago, out of the book, Life Management for Busy Women, by Elizabeth George. I didn't do the section on time management (I did the section on managing your ministry), but the time management section really spoke to me, and here lately, with the job shift, I've been thinking about it a lot. A really lot.

My husband is a list-maker. He's got a wallet sized calendar book, and each day he writes down things he needs to do, cards he needs to send, items he needs to buy, and so on. Some days that list takes up the whole space of the day, some days it's just an item or two. But consistently he makes his list, and as the day goes by, he is faithful to cross things off his list. Sometimes it's everything, sometimes it's not.

I really admire this trait in my husband. For several reasons. One, I think it shows discipline. It takes discipline to daily write down a list of the things you want/need/have to do. Two, it shows competence & responsibility. He's aware of the things he needs to take care of and they are important enough to make note of. Three, he reaps the benefit of accomplishment. He can look back over his day, through his list, and see all that he's done. That's a rewarding feeling!

So now that I'm not working outside our home, I wanted to make sure that my days counted. I get easily distracted and can find myself at the end of the day with a half a dozen or more unfinished projects, in various stages, but NOTHING ACCOMPLISHED. Not only can this be very discouraging, but for me it can sometimes send me into a state of immobility ... that's when I am so surrounded by unfinished (and sometimes not-even-started) projects that need my attention, that I'm paralyzed about what I should do next, and instead, spend the next three days sitting on the couch watching old movies. Can anyone relate? Anyone??!

So I've pulled out the old "to-do" list again, with a re-vamped state-of-mind. Over the next three days I want to share some of my thoughts on how a to-do list should be created, why it can be so beneficial, and how it can truly be a stress-reliever. I want you to understand that the to-do list can work for you, not you for the to-do list. That it's not a legalistic demand and drain on your time, but a tool to help you stay focused, feel a sense of accomplishment, and have more time to do the things you enjoy! Our time is precious; we should make the most of it!

So stay tuned, because tomorrow we're going to discuss . . . in the beginning. Creating a to-do list that works for you!

There. Now I can check this off today's list.


4 left a comment . . .:

Gmama Jane said...

I'll be back tomorrow for lesson #1. I so need this!!! I get involved and never finish what I start!!!
Looking forward to some good advice

Debbie J said...

I love Elizabeth George's books and own the Life Management one. I am back to making a to do list too. Trying not to list too many things, so that I don't feel overwhelmed. Your husband does well with his.

Cathy said...

I can soooooooo relate to having so many things going at the same time. I get overwhelmed, and then nothing ends up getting done. I go on a list making blitz, and get lots done, but then stop making lists, and the cycle repeats.

Paula and Mel said...

I am in! Front row, center seat. Can't wait. I so need this right now.