How many of you have a to do list? Is it a mental to do list, or do you write it down? Did you know that when you check an item off your “To Do” list, you release a small amount of dopamine? It’s true. It makes you happy. So even if you’re saying to yourself, “I’m not a ‘to do’ list kind of person,” following these simple tips just might make you happier.
I know my list comes out every Monday morning without fail. I’ve got laundry, dishes, rotate the tires, wash the dog, kids’ homework and the list goes on and on. These tips below have definitely helped me kick a little “To Do” list butt. And I know it can help you too.
#1 Prioritize your TO DOs
When I was in college, I was drowning in my studies, my work, and my other demands. I couldn’t seem to keep my head above water. I was completely overwhelmed. My professor gave me some good advice. He told me to make a prioritized “To Do” list.
First, he said to write down everything I needed to get done that day. Then, he said to number each item on my list according to priority. The most important and pressing item was number one and then so on. I was not supposed to move on to item number two until item number one was finished.
It seemed simple enough but I was amazed how much it helped me. Prioritizing my list took the stress away because I knew I was doing the most important thing right at that moment. The other items could wait. I would get to them.
#2 Give yourself credit for the little things
Sometimes when you have four little kids at home, simply taking a shower and getting ready for the day is an accomplishment. Don’t forget to put that item on your “To Do” list. Then, when you look back at your day, you’ll realize that, YES, you did get a lot done today. Being a mom is busy and hard. Keeping your home a welcoming, clean and happy place to be is just as important as the work your husband is doing in the office.
#3 Make time for YOU on your TO DO list
A “To Do” list doesn’t just have to be for things you HAVE to do. You can also including items that you want to do. If you don’t put it on your list, then most likely, you won’t do it. As a mother, you need to do something for yourself EVERYDAY. For example, I like to take a short nap while my baby is taking a nap. Fifteen minutes of shut eye energizes me for the rest of the day. Or, go on a walk and put it on your list. You’ll be amazed at how much it will help.
#4 Be realistic and specific
If the first thing on your to do list is, “Clean house”, then you’re doing it wrong. Instead, your list should say, “Sweep,” “Vacuum,” “Dishes,” “Tidy,” “Make bed,” “Clean bathroom,” and “Do laundry.” With several kids running around, those items could take all day. Wouldn’t it feel better to mark off seven items off your list instead of just one?
Also, don’t write something down on your list that cannot be achieved in one day. For example, “write mystery novel” is obviously not realistic. Instead, your goal could be to work on your novel for one hour. Of course finishing your novel is the end goal, but as we know, it’s one step at a time.