I read somewhere recently that women have 40,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. That’s a lot of thinking ladies, and although I’m not sure if this is scientifically proven, I know for a fact that I personally think a lot. A LOT! For years I was driving myself mad, waking up in the middle of the night thinking nonstop about all the things I need to do.
I started thinking more strategically and more long term. Let’s face it, if you have a list of 30 things you need to do and you present this to yourself everyday, there are two things that are going to happen:
- You get an anxiety attack and you know for a fact you will not achieve much so you procrastinate the hell out of it just because you are too scared to face this long list
- You manage to do 2-3 things from this massive list but still feel you haven’t done any of the things you need to do as the list still remains long. Needless to say by the time you finished these 2-3 things, you have added 5 more! Sounds familiar?
I’ve tried starting a bullet journal. I’ve seen great reviews over bullet journaling and I thought I’d give it a go but for me it didn’t work. The bullet journal was another thing to maintain and carry around. I love working digitally, and I want to have the flexibility to change my schedule depending on my life circumstances. I felt that the bullet journal was quite restrictive. Also an embarrassing thing to admit, but my handwriting is the worst! I’m the worst scrawler you’ve ever seen! So, although as an idea keeping a bullet journal sounds very creative and fabulous, in my reality it wasn’t.
So after the bullet journal didn’t work for me was there light at the end of this ‘long list tunnel’?
How did I mastered my long ToDo list.
As I said, I started thinking more strategically, I divided my main goals on a three month plan. So every three months I sit down and think what are the things I want to achieve in the next three months? An example could look like this:
- Start kitchen renovation
- Start learning about x
- Commit to two days exercise per week
- Look into my finance plan x
- Start the Google Analytics course
- Back massage
- Pet needs grooming
- Buy a new sofa
- Book summer holiday
- Actions to get a promotion
- Connect with other bloggers and creatives
- Create a Blog Content Calendar
- Book a weekend away
- Go and visit our x friends
- Do a health checkup
- Have a facial
- Work on my website
- Learn how to use Pinterest analytics
- Cancel my x subscribtion
- Finish my kitchen renovation
- Update my capsule wardrobe
- Book Design workshop
- Dentist health checkup
- Plan my garden update
- Paint my bedroom
Tip: Make sure you add your self care tasks every month, this is the most important task you should schedule and complete! If it’s planned it will happen.
After I have done my top level main goals for the next 3 months then the fun part begins. I create a simple table on Google docs, and on the right hand side I add my main monthly goals as above, but now I break the monthly goals in smaller more manageable tasks. So on the left hand side I have all the monthly tasks and on the right hand side I distribute these tasks throughout the week. This layout is giving me a birds eye view of the whole month and my week ahead at the same time. It doesn’t have to be very complicated, just whatever works for you. I created a template for you to see as it’s much easier than it sounds 🙂
Your ToDo list could look like this:
I try to complete 3 main tasks per day, but of course you can decide how long your tasks will take, so you can add more or less each day. Be realistic, don’t put too much in your day as you probably will not manage to complete all of them and that can be disheartening. It’s better to have less tasks, achieve them and then carry on doing something from your next days list (imaging how great this will feel!).
I stick to a routine. Every Sunday night I do my prep for the week ahead. I clear out all the tasks I have completed, I move the tasks that I haven’t managed to complete back to my monthly list, then I organise the week ahead on the daily log. At the same time I check my google calendar and add any appointments I have booked for this week, so I have a clear view of how much time I have free to complete my tasks. When I complete a task I cross it out.
I cannot stress enough how much this strategic planning of prioritising and breaking down my ToDo list in more manageable tasks has helped me. I start my week knowing exactly what I need to be doing and what things I need to complete without stressing over the longer planning. Allowing this time for planning is a life changing game.
Of course, as with everything, practice makes perfect. At the beginning I used to put too many tasks in my day, thinking it’s achievable, but gradually I became better with my timings and more realistic. Also planning ahead like this is a great opportunity to ask for some help.
I don’t really now how I was functioning before this strategic planning.
Our reality today is that we do live very busy lives. But careful planning and organising can really give you the reigns back. You are in control of what you need to do and how much you can achieve!
If you feel you are on a high speed train with no brakes on, stop!
Just stop, take a minute, and…
- Write down everything that is in your head right now, (from work to personal) ever-single-freaking-thing,
- Find a tool you can sustain to update your list (something like a word doc, research Apps, use a Bullet journal, whatever works best for you)
- Break the big tasks in more manageable tasks,
- Make a three month plan and spread these tasks out
- Ask for help for the things that you could use a spare hand with (you know this cleaning lady you always dreamed off, if you can afford her, even if you can save from not having Netflix and Amazon Prime at the same time, it’s SO worth it, book her now!)
- Stick to a weekly routine of planning, choose your best day to plan your week (for me it’s Sunday night as it makes me jump right into Monday morning like a task-Ninja!)
You can download here the template I use and customise it how you want it.Download here your ToDo list template
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