Making a Big "To Do"

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tbm.big.to.doWhen I was a grade school girl, I was rather dramatic. A skinned knee would cause me to wail as if I'd been mortally wounded. A tiny spider would set me screaming and send me running for cover as if I'd seen a tarantula. If a friend were mad at me, I'd worry and pout and get a pit in my stomach thinking my social world had come to a complete end.

My antics often found my mom saying this to me, "Oh...you're making a big "to do" about nothing."

I never understood what that meant.

{And she kind of pronounced it "ta do" not "to do". What was up with that?}

In college I studied Shakespeare. It was then I discovered he wrote a play called Much Ado About Nothing. Perhaps over the years that phrase had morphed into my moms cliche'. Who knows?

All I know is I am faced with a big "To Do" as of late.....as in "TO DO LIST".  You know, the kind of week or month where just making the "to do" list takes the better chunk of an hour.

Then, you are almost afraid to read what you wrote, surmising that perhaps, if you ignore it, it will go away. Kind of the opposite of the whole "If you build it they will come" thing. :-)

Can I get a witness?

Well, this week, let's talk about making a big "to do". Here are some tips I've learned over the years:

~ Do NOT make just one "to do" list. If you write down 23 things and then, at the end of the day, you've only been able to cross off 5 items, you'll feel defeated.

~Split your list into three categories: Today; Soon & Someday. The first list is what you have to do. The second is what you want to do if there is time and the third list holds those projects you may never get around to but would feel oh-so organized if you ever did!

~Beyond just prioritizing by splitting into the three lists, prioritize each list. By that I mean even the things on your Today list will need to be in order. You can either write them in order of importance. (That usually takes me a couple of tries and involves scratching or erasing and frustration.) Or, make the list and then wield a bright colored highlighter. Highlight only the first thing or two you must do. When they are done, cross them off and highlight something else. It doesn't matter this way if they are in perfect order.

~Use a legal pad or top-bound spiral notebook. I put my fun and funky colored top-bound spiral notebook on my clipboard opened to my Today list. It is down the left side of my page. My Soon list is down the right side of my page. My Someday list is on the very last page of my notebook and I keep adding to it as I think of projects.

~Also use a clipboard that opens up to reveal a compartment for papers and pens. By having it on a clipboard that holds papers and my pen and highlighter, I can toss in any items that must be dealt with today; an overdue library book notice, a bill that must be paid asap, a permission slip that needs to be filled out and returned for an activity, etc... Make it a habit to check in your clipboard before nightfall and deal with any papers there.

~If you want to get even more specific, split your Today list into three categories: To Call; To Do and Computer. This helps me to see my work in chunks. Do I have lots of computer time work to do like answering and sending emails, writing or ordering items online? How many phone calls must I make for that project at church or for my son's baseball team party?

This way, I can tell when it is best to do those tasks. If I have a half hour of calls to make and my son needs to be at his game 45 minutes before it starts, I can drop him off, whip over to a local cafe to grab a coffee, go back to the ball diamond, position my lawn chair where I'll get a good view, and make my calls until the game starts and I have to start hollerin'.

(Yeah... I'm one of those moms. And I will not stop. I've had too many of my sons' teammates tell me, " Mrs. E, When I was up to the plate, I heard you yell, 'You can do it! You know you can! Come on now, give it a ride!' And I thought, "I can do it " The next thing we heard was the crack of a ball on a bat! I like to think it is due to the encouragement they heard and not due to the fact that the opposing team's pitcher just lobbed it in there. So I say yell for those kids. Only positive things now.... This concludes this unplanned editorial.)

How about it? Is it time for you to make a big "to do"?

Blessings,

Karen Ehman, KarenEhman.com