Conquering the “To Do” Beast!

OK, so you spent last winter reviewing ‘08, analyzed what you’d accomplished and how to improve, set goals and created a plan of action for the upcoming year. Your plate’s full and your to-do list is ready to go. Actually, it's in your face... taunting you, right?!?  So... when and how do you get it all done? Read on and learn how you can conquer the "To Do" beast!

Time-management is something almost everyone struggles with! From the homemaker, with or without a business, to the CEO of almost any Fortune 500, we all have the same amount of time in a day – and “too much” to accomplish! There are probably as many methods and plans out there as there are personalities – no matter what the system, it has to work for you! Anyone I’ve ever talked to that uses their time efficiently has usually created something from a bunch of different ideas. Here’s some suggestions to look at to get you started on coming up with your “perfect plan”.

A suggestion from Network Marketing Coach Terry Dean is a less-overwhelming twist on the old “to-do” list, and has certainly brought him impressive results. Each evening before going to bed, he makes a list of 5 – yes, only 5 – things that he needs to complete the next day. They can be short, easy ones, or a part of a bigger project... but they will ABSOLUTELY be accomplished the next day. Now 5 may not seem like much, but by the end of the week, he has completed 25 concrete, measurable activities or items that will have contributed to his business success. Hmmm...

Another tip, from Nicole Dean, the “mostly sane” WAHM, is to outsource whatever you can! (Boy, can’t wait to outsource my housecleaning ;-) ! Of course, a cornerstone of her business is built on helping bloggers and those with web-based businesses do just that, by providing PLR articles and other marketing tools. If you don’t like writing and adding to your blog, website or newsletter, she’s someone you might want to check out.

And this is 2 variations on using good ol’ files. If you’re used to using a filing cabinet and have easy access to one, you can label them 1-31 (you’ll be re-using them each month). In them you can stick sticky notes, your bills, reminders, and notes and/or cards to send. Each day you open the number corresponding to the date, and whatever is inside is your to-do list for that day. The variation involves fewer files, but more “revisiting”. You label your files by activity (bills, correspondence, phone calls, meetings, shopping, etc) and stick in your lists or reminders into the appropriate file. Of course you then have to check each one, every day...

Here’s what I do...

I have a notebook that fits into my purse. It’s a bound book, more like a journal, so I’m not tempted to use it for the kids to write in or tear out a page if I need to. I create a weekly list of general tasks I want to accomplish. Because I also homeschool and have a lot of pressing personal demands on my time, I constantly refer to this list when I have a free moment. Kids taking a test? Respond to an email. Math lesson in progress? Write the outline to an article. Lunch time? Enough time to resize some photos for  the website. Article topics go on a separate page, so I can switch back and forth between completing those activities which I will more-easily check off, and keeping up with a growing list of ideas. Outlines (and sometimes complete articles, which I compose while out and about) also get hand-written here and put on the computer when I have a larger chunk of time available.

Now there you have 5 methods to adapt to your own set of circumstances! You know best the environment you live in, methods that work best for you, and where your time-management challenges lay. But we all know that all the information in the world is worth nothing if we don’t get up and act, so... you know what to do next!

Being organized is really a freeing experience, keeping you from that nagging fear and worry that you're forgetting something.  It allows you to handle the inevitable homeschooling "glitches" smoothly, enables you to get your paperwork (scheduling, bill paying, phone calls) done timely, and helps you to be more available for others in the process.  So do yourself a favor, put some thought and energy into coming up with a plan, and ...slay that beast of your own each day.


Pat Fenner and her husband Paul have been homeschooling their five children for 14 years. You can visit Pat’s websites at Help-4-Your-Homeschool.com.

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2 Responses to “Conquering the “To Do” Beast!”

  1. Nikki Buchanan says:

    This is something that is really getting me down I cope ok with the hoeschooling side of things it is everything else that just gets too much. Struggle to get the kids to do there chores.

  2. Deb says:

    Love this article! Some really practical ideas, you have a gift, I’m glad you are sharing it with others. Thanks!
    .-= Deb´s last blog ..4 Tools That Reveal How You Rank Online =-.

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