Do you have a personal "to do" list and a professional "to do" list? A desktop calendar, a wall calendar, and a school calendar? Small slips of paper and reminder floating around your vehicle, briefcase, or purse? Giving your to do list a makeover might be just what you need to help make sure you don't miss any appointments ever again!
Sometimes it's hard to let go of paper, but streamlining your to do list, and your obligations/appointments takes some time initially, but can save you time and stress in the long run. This article was written assuming that you have some sort of online platform for scheduling (Outlook, Google Calendar, Zimbra, etc...). As soon as you receive your work schedule, take a few moments to input it into your online calendar, then you can add babysitter schedules, appointments, school schedules, your spouses schedule, etc... Use a color pattern to differentiate between schedules. For example, your son's schedule may appear in blue on the calendar, yours in green, doctors appointments in orange...and be consistent. If your scheduling platform is at your office, please consider the privacy events (ie: you may not want your co-workers knowing about your husbands vasectomy consult on the 23rd).
In addition to placing calendar items on your scheduling platform, you should also add 'to do' items. Use one color for personal tasks and one color for professional tasks. You know how long approximately how long it will take to edit that presentation. When you put it on your calendar, you may want to choose an available setting, since you aren't technically un-available, but that's up to you. Similarly, if you plan to grocery shop on Saturday afternoon and it usually takes you two hours, put it on your calendar from 2-4 or maybe 1:30-4 if you're grabbing a latte' on your way. Take those lists, scraps of paper, appointment cards, and calendars and make sure they are on your calendar. This way, you can look back (sort of like a diary or journal), but you'll also receive a reminder prior to the start time which will help any of you work-a-holics pause and better plan your day.
If you are also a smartphone user, you can choose to show that calendar on your phone which will pop up reminders prior to events. In most cases, you can set the desired reminder time. I happen to live in a small town and a 20 minute heads up is sufficient time for me to fix my hair and get across town in most cases, so I choose a 20 minute reminder window.
You may also want to use your scheduling platform to help you with goal planning. If my goal is to lose 10 pounds by a particular event, and I know I need to lose 3 pounds per month to hit my goal, I can create a check in for myself at the end of each month and again at the goal date. Most scheduling platforms will allow for recurring events and they allow you to schedule quite far into the future, so even your long range goal planning can become an online tool instead of a piece of paper in the bottom of your washing machine!
Hope you enjoyed your To Do List Makeover! Now...if only someone would come help with yardwork, right? (that's not a service we offer at Relax Consulting by the way...sorry http://www.relaxconsulting.com/)
May your paths be filled with lemons, sugar, and sunshine!