Everyone has their own system to get things done that work for them. Here are some things I’ve found that help me along.
1) Determine the goals of your to-do list. If you are the type of person who will only feel accomplished if you complete every task on the list, you will need fewer items or smaller items than I use per day. My list is not a black-and-white, must-get-this-done-now list. My list is made up of helpful suggestions and guidelines that get me through my day with variety and the illusion of choice.
2) Give yourself variety and choice. Like I’ve said, my list each day consists of 16 items. Eight are writing goals, eight are cleaning goals. So that if I just can’t bring myself to write a chapter of a book I’m working on, I could instead do some laundry. If I don’t want to do the laundry, I could write a blog. If I’m not feeling creative enough for a blog, I could clean the counters. Etc. As long as I’m doing something, it doesn’t matter what it is. And I get to choose what feels like the lesser of all the evils at any given time.
3) Only focus on one thing at a time. While you are completing a task, do not fall into the trap of organizing the rest of your day, chore by chore. That’s self-defeating. It will always seem like you have way more to do than you can possibly get done. Just get that one thing completed first. And when you’ve finished it, then you think about the next one thing.
4) Give yourself breaks and rewards. After every task, take a small break. Have a coffee, watch a show, take a shower, whatever you want or need. Give yourself ten minutes or a half hour to re-center yourself. You are you. You are not your to-do list. Toward the end of that time, decide which one thing you want to do next. Then attack it with new zeal.
5) Split big chores into smaller ones, then list them all. I have a variety of chore sizes in my list. For instance, cleaning the bathroom is cleaning the bathroom. I don’t split that one up, and it’s always a big job. However, I almost never clean the whole kitchen as one task. The counters are one task to be marked off. The floor another. The cabinets a third. Sure, it takes me two days to deep clean my kitchen, but I know if I left the whole task on my list without splitting it up, I’d never do it. It would sit on the list for weeks. But cleaning a stovetop or a microwave? Even I can handle that. And eventually, the whole kitchen gets clean.
6) Put things that you don’t like doing on the list, but also put things that take up time on the list. Outings with my kids go on the list. Going to the gym goes on the list. Baking cookies goes on the list. I love doing all of these things. But they all take at least an hour, and sometimes three. Therefore, even though I like them, completing them accomplishes something, and deserves to be marked off.
By doing this, each of my days are different and each is productive in it’s own unique way. It’s the best way I’ve found to survive the humdrum that stay-at-home-momdom could be for me.