Every January I resolve to be more organized in the coming year! I’m usually a little overzealous with my scheduling goals though, and can’t seem to stick to them! This year, instead of New Year’s resolutions, I am going with a New Year’s theme. I’ll be “choosing happiness” instead of sticking to challenging goals.
In order to have more time for the things that make me happy (including being less stressed) I’m working on improving my to-do list.
Here are my 5 tips for keeping a to-do list that you can manage all year long!
#1. Find the Perfect Note-Taking Device for You!
I’ve done my best to use giant day planners with a space to schedule out every minute of the day – but it’s just too much to keep track of for me. I also don’t like to lug around a giant notebook, so a small notepad or a miniature composition book works for me.
It also helps to use something with an image that you love, or better yet – get something that you can insert your favorite photo into!
If you like the structure of a traditional day planner, look for one with the features you want: a to-do list on the side, space for weekly goals, or hour-by-hour scheduling. If you tend to get overwhelmed by all the features, go with a simple notebook that you can fill in with just what you need.
If you prefer to make lists and organize your schedule on your phone or computer, check out this post about the best apps for getting organized!
#2. Utilize Sticky Notes
One reason that I don’t follow through with my planning goals is that I get frustrated when things change and I’m crossing everything out. I love using sticky notes because I can move them around. If I want to get to the library today, but I don’t get around to it, I can just move the sticky note to tomorrow!
You can also use sticky notes to color-code and organize your notes. Give each color a category (like work, home, appointments, etc.) or use different colors for different priority levels. Just look for red sticky notes to see what needs to get done today!
I like to use colorful stickers to make sections in my notebooks, but sticky notes will work, too. This way, I don’t have to fumble through my notes looking for the right page – I can just flip right to it!
#3. Use One Writing Utensil
I like the idea of using a different color pen for different tasks, but don’t want to carry around five different pens! Instead, use one pen with multiple colors, or just use sticky notes and regular pen.
#4. Ask Yourself These Questions:
- Is this urgent? Or just something that should get done sometime? It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a never-ending to-do list, so you may want to keep the “shoulds” on a separate page.
- Can I delegate this to someone else?
- Can I break this down into smaller tasks? Instead of trying to take on an entire project in one day, tackle it in steps.
- Can I include more information, like a phone number, or website? How can I make this easier for myself to get done?
- Can I automate this task? Services like automatic bill pay can save you a lot of time!
#5. Look at Your List Regularly
Take a minute or two everyday to look at your list. In the morning, when you’re planning the day, decide what things need to get done and maybe add a few more tasks.
To help you stay organized during the New Year, I have put together these printables for organizing by the month, the week, or the the day and they are FREE to download and use!
CLICK ON EACH MONTH TO DOWNLOAD
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
Being able to see the entire month all at once really helps keep me on track. It’s helpful to be able to see special occasions like birthdays, etc with plenty of advance time to plan a party or purchase gift. I’d be lost without my monthly calendar! But while being able to see your “month-at-a-glance” is very important….it definitely only goes so far in helping to be organized and stay on task.
A weekly planner is also very helpful….especially on Sunday night when you are making your plan of attack for the week. It allows you to add more details to the week’s activities and helps you to see how all the pieces of your week’s puzzle fit together.
This is the planner I want to start making much better use of. I’m very good at knowing what is coming up on what day, but I want to be able to accomplish more than just the appointments in my planner each day. I’m hoping this daily planner will help me live each day with more purpose…not to mention get a lot more done!
I hope these ideas and the 3 free printables will be helpful as we all strive for a better organized 2016!
What are your tips for making to-do lists?