Lists Are My Jam

By Cheryl Ryan

I love the days when I feel accomplished, precisely because of all the days that I don’t! For the last month, I’ve been winging it without a list. I kind of rebelled against all the structure but things haven’t been going well these last couple of weeks. So as of today, I’m back to my lists.

Someone once told me that creating a to-do list the night before made him most productive because he could get right to work first thing in the morning. It really does work “if” you are organized enough the day before to make a list “and” nothing derails you during the day. 

Whether making a list the night before or not, my preferred lists are in a lightweight spiral notebook. They’re easy to carry and I can put them into a backpack or take them into a store. I’ve tried beautiful leather-bound notebooks but I think they’re too formal for me. Many people love Moleskin notebooks and like leather-bound, they look much better on a shelf or desk.

Sometimes if I can’t find my notebook and I write on the closest scrap of paper so that I won’t forget my thought by the time I reach the next room. Then I gather the scraps and consolidate them. I’m working on 8 different scraps right now. Of course, consolidating my lists is on my list. This plays into my love of marking things off.  Sometimes if I’ve done something that wasn’t on my list I’ll write it down and then mark it off. I know it’s weird. I even feel weird writing it.

All of this may lead you to believe that I am an organized person. On some days I am but there are many that I’m not. Just don’t ask my family how often I ask if anybody’s seen my phone or keys. It’s bad. The act of writing things down though actually helps me organize my thoughts for that day or for a project. 

One thing I’m starting is to schedule my to-dos.  For example, 8-10 computer work, 10-12 home projects and then try to take an actual lunch hour to do whatever I want. 

There’s no doubt that working from home is a challenge for me. I miss working at an office and having deadlines but I’m really trying to embrace the freedom and lists are helping me do that.  

If you have any productivity ideas I would so love to hear them.

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