While running two different businesses, a publishing company (Winuply Press) and a skin care company (Worthy Skin Care), I can become overwhelmed with the many tasks that need to be completed day after day.
I’ve created a strategy for integrating 5 lists into one To-Do list system that helps me organize and keep track of each kind of actionable tasks.
I know there are many apps that help with list making; I prefer using a legal pad (One pad for all lists. One page a day. ) and manually crossing out items. I don’t number my tasks or organize them into categories: I prefer to write them down in a big jumble—as I think of them.
Each night I handwrite my list of things I need To-Do the next day. As I work the next day, I cross off finished items with a yellow crayon/highlighter. I like the pretty yellow stripes that line up down the page to motivate me to do more.
An hour before the end of my workday, an alarm rings on my phone: time to look over my list and evaluate what hasn’t been finished. If I think I can finish a task, I put a small circle in the margin of the idea, then complete the task and cross it out. If there is no way I can finish a task, I add an arrow in the margin to show that I am carrying this task to the next day’s list.
Before I stop for the day, I always rewrite my To-Do list for the next day.
I add everything I can think of to the list. From Empty the dishwasher to return Betsy’s email. If I plan to return 5 emails, each email becomes a separate line on the list.
I meet with an accountability partner a few times a month and leave with more items for my lists. I mark these items with an “A” to remind me they must be completed before my next accountability meeting.
Something else I add to my list are my MUST DO items—marked with a star. Pack orders. Ship orders. Work out. Sauna. Post office. Meditate.
Items on my MUST DO list are my commitment to finish them before the day is over. Going to my Small Business Class in AKIMBO has been on my MUST DO list every day for the past 40-odd days. Sometimes I don’t start my classwork until 11:00 PM, and even though I have to wake at 5 and really need to get to sleep, I always finish my MUST DO list before I go to sleep.
Last night I was up late working. Tonight on the MUST DO list is to unplug by 7:00 so I can wind down and mentally prepare myself for the week.
No matter how many tasks I have finished in a day, there are always things left to do. Rather than feel the burden of the unfinished items, I am careful to write the things that I have finished on another list that helps keep me on track: my Ta-Da! list.
I’ve read that celebrating lights up the areas of the brain that feel joy. I know, celebrating the items I've finished is a sneaky way to feel even more joy.
I know what you're thinking, what about the bigger goals, the one's that are down the road and you need to stretch to get them done?
There is one more item I add to the bottom of the page that includes bigger goals that I’m not ready to work on, but want to be reminded that they’re coming up. I list these ideas at the bottom of my list under a heading that reads, “BIGs.” Some weeks there are many BIGs, other weeks there are fewer.
I use my To-Do list, my accountability tasks, a MUST DO list, the Ta-Da! list and the reminder list of BIGs to keep me on track. The convenience and ease of using this system of keeping all lists on one page, makes list making manageable.
Studies show that writing things down and crossing them off a list helps us stay not only organized but motivated.
I can use help in both areas.
Holly Winter Huppert is a writer, a photographer and a kindergarten teacher living in upstate NY. Along with teaching and writing, Holly runs two businesses: a publishing house (Winuply Press) and a Skin Care Company (Worthy Skin Care.)
Check out Holly's Writing Masterclass for Parents of Young Children, a work of heart that Holly did as a service to parents during the pandemic. Holly's area of expertise is in teaching writing to children, and she shares her knowledge in this video. No charge. No signups. Just information. (Want more connecting children and writing? Check out Holly's book of children's writing prompts: Write Now: Ideas for Writers.)
Check out Holly Winter Huppert’s latest book: Cheese for Breakfast: My Turkish Summer. Huppert writes with her signature humor, honesty and insights.
"This book is a joy ride of surprises; a perfect escapist read." Winuply Press
Join Holly as she finds adventure everywhere she goes as climbs castles, eats from communal bowls, joins a 40-minute water fight from the back of a truck, lives with a Turkish family, visits remote areas and marks two lifelong dreams off of her bucket list: visit the ancient city of Ephesus and watch the Whirling Dervishes whirl in prayer
Follow Holly's personal page on Instagram, Her page for Winuply Press on Instagram, and her page for Worthy Skin Care on Instagram. Or e-mail her at mshollywinter at Gmail dot com to book a speaking engagement or ask any questions.
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Winuply Press Worthy Skin Care Upstate New York 845-481-3859 www.winuplypress.com
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