Organizing

The Best $12 I’ve Ever Spent (Well,This Week)

Update: I’ve added my “glorified to-do list” as a Word document to the bottom of this post if you’d like to use mine as a template to make your own.

Hi.  I’m Nicole and I’m a procrastinator.  (Hi Nicole!)

I really don’t know why I’m a procrastinator or why I can’t seem to get things done. I did a little googling last night and read that lots of procrastination is actually a side effect of being impulsive. I wouldn’t really consider myself impulsive. Oh wait, I have dishes in the sink to wash. Oh wait, let me go google impulsive behavior, I’ll be right back. Wait, what was I supposed to be doing? Yeah.

So I decided what I needed is a very detailed to-do list that will help me not forget the big things that need to be done (like blogging – no, like fold laundry, prep dinner, exercise). Because, really, at any given moment, I can think of 10 things that I WANT to do and 10 things that I NEED to do. And somehow, every day, the kids’ nap time ends and I think, What have I actually gotten done while I had an hour alone?

The first one of these that I had seen was Tsh’sDaily Docket” at Simple Mom. It’s great, simple and straight-forward. But I wanted something a little bit more tailored to me. And something that will remind me, Hey, dinner’s coming up. What are you doing to make that 5-o’clock-cranky-kids-Husband-home-from-work-we’re-all-hungry time a little easier?

So I created a schedule. It fits my specific schedule right now (when Baby Girl naps twice a day and Big Boy is at preschool part of the week). It’s got a section for important chores for the day, errands/appointments I need to do outside the house, and a To-Do List to accomplish home tasks at each nap time. (When Big Boy is home from preschool during Baby Girl’s morning nap, I keep that list light so we can play/read together and I’m not just running around completing chores.) I included a “Kids Play” area so that I will be intentional to plan one activity for the kids to do each day, and a “Fun” area to try to do something just for me (read a magazine for 30 minutes, watch a show, read blogs – something relaxing). I also included “Exercise” in the evening (don’t laugh, Husband, it will happen some day!) and “Bills” just as a reminder to tackle paperwork after the kids are in bed.

So, yes, a little detailed, but for a procrastinator impulsive-person fun person like me, it needs to be a little more spelled out.

So I printed out a few sheets and put them on a clipboard. And it worked! It’s not perfect. I’ve gotten a little more done, but I’ve also added more to the list than I could possibly get done, so I’m carrying items over to the next day and learning to keep it a little more simple. And I’m also not using it as a big calendar, filling things out in advance. I only look at the next day the night before. I don’t need to overwhelm the calendar – I just want to write down before I go to bed what needs to be done the next day. I still use my calendar on my phone to keep track of most things – this is really just a glorified to-do list.

OK, so what about the $12?  Yes, GENIUS!

So I took a printed out sheet to my local copy shop (my printer is terrible, guzzles expensive ink, so I didn’t want to use that) to make a few more copies to have.  I started with 50, but then I saw that I could get the pages bound. I asked if they did spiral-bound notebooks or just comb-bound (there is a difference, and, yes, I’m a binding snob). Glorious music filled my head when he said they did spiral for about $3. HAPPY DAY! I copied 50 more pages and had them all bound into a spiral-bound notebook. And I know the copy guy thought I was an extremely Type-A stay-at-home-mom. I mean, first of all, who makes a detailed schedule of kids nap times? (Me.) And then, who practically does a dance when she finds out her nerdy schedule can be spiral-bound? (This girl.)

Amazing. For about $12 total, I have a lovely, personalized (SPIRAL BOUND!) to-do list that helps me get the important things done.

(PS – Yes, I realize I could have printed on front and back, but I love to doodle, I am an obsessive note-taker, and I’m constantly trying to figure stuff out on paper, so I need some space. I love it this way. And I only have to look at one day at a time, which is great for my sanity.  Bonus!)

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Download my “glorified to-do list” template here: glorified to-do list

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