November 16, 2009
Aren't we constantly making lists? Whether we write them down or just make a mental note, we constantly have shopping lists, to do lists, lists of what our kids need to take to school and on what day. And then, perhaps more dreaded than any other list, is the endless housework list.
Quite a few people merely make a list of what they need to do around the house on a given day and then cross off the items as they are completed. Even though making a list is a great way to stay focused, this doesn't work for everyone when it comes to housework. Why? In my experience, the list just gets too long or life gets in the way, and at the end of the day I look at the list and get discouraged by all the things that are not crossed off. I stare at the few items that are crossed off and wonder, "It took me all day to do that?"
So, if housework lists are a great way to keep focused, but the usual to do list isn't working and making you discouraged, here are two different ways to make lists that both keep you on track and proud of your accomplishments.
Write it as you do it. Instead of making a long list of all the tasks you need to get done, start with a blank sheet and write down what you've completed, down to the smallest task, as you do it. This way, you see exactly what you've done. The more tasks you write off as completed, the more tasks you'll want to do in order to see your list grow. It's very encouraging.
Start with the basics. If you need a little more focus than what the above does, but you still get discouraged by the long list, try this. Write down only what absolutely needs to get done with no frills (such as the dishes or making the kids' lunches), or only a few small tasks to start with. As soon as you have those few things crossed off, you can add more tasks, a few at a time.
As a final note, to keep you encouraged and focused, you may want to consider putting your list in a highly visible location. I love to write my lists on a glass door in the house with a dry erase marker. You could put yours on a mirror, door, window, whiteboard, or anywhere you will see it often.
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