Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Take a minute to think about what happens at your house when someone calls unexpectedly and says, "We'll be there in fifteen minutes to see you." I'll guess that you accomplished a lot in those fifteen minutes! I remember many times of scurrying around, picking up items that were left out, and generally trying to make the place look good. Now I want you to think about an average, ordinary day. Are there a few minutes here and there that simply get wasted? I am a habit-driven, task-oriented person, and I operate better with a schedule and a list of tasks to do. It is sort of like having a road map in that it tells me where I need to go next. The list keeps me moving from one task to another. I have many projects that I am currently working on. Most of them are long-range projects, tasks that will take many hours over many weeks, months and years. I found that without putting them on a list, I just didn't get to them at all. I also found that I sometimes didn't take the time to make my list each day or forgot to add these tasks to my list. Other times I made a short list and ran out of tasks before I ran out of time and therefore found myself floundering in attempt to decide what I should do next. I recently solved many of my work problems by making a master list on the computer. I typed a list of tasks that I wanted to accomplish, ones that I felt were very important to my success. I keep a copy of this list in my day timer and simply mark off the task when I complete it each day. My list is currently evolving because I keep adding tasks and revising the list. I now have a list of sixteen tasks that I work on daily. My daily list does not include chores such as cooking and dishes and personal items such as flossing my teeth, but it does have really important things like my morning prayer, scripture study, journal, exercises, and putting out my flag, all activities that I consider to be too important to be forgotten. I also include my long-term projects such as learning to play the piano, embroidering some special items for my children, and marking scriptures for my grandchildren. I've been making real progress on all of my projects by simply setting my kitchen timer for fifteen minutes per project. I work on a project for fifteen minutes until my timer goes off, put a mark by that item, and move on to another project. When I look at my list with all the daily tasks crossed off, I feel like I've accomplished a big thing! I've added weekly and monthly lists and a planning section to my form. My weekly list includes chores, such as vacuuming and laundry, tasks which need to be done every week, as well as a date night with my husband. My monthly list includes things like writing to my grandchildren, cleaning my stove top, and visiting teaching. I never run out of tasks to do, and I accomplish so much more than I did before I started my master list. Some people accomplish the same thing with an index card for each task. I like my list because I can see items actually checked off. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.