Today is the day. I say that every Monday, as I see Monday as the day of the week worthy of mini-resolutions. Far from stressing me out, it creates a sense of order and renewal within me. As soon as I have finished packing the kid’s lunches, I sit and eat breakfast, notepad by my side, planning my week every Monday morning. I don’t go too grandiose. I make a giant list of everything I can think of: from “clean out the pantry” to “make hard-boiled eggs”. Those items are amazingly different! The pantry could take me two hours whereas eggs takes 10 minutes. (I leave off daily tasks such as “do my workout” or “do dishes” since they are just a part of my day that I wouldn’t forget.)
I find if I don’t write it down, I find myself standing in the middle of the kitchen, in the middle of doing something, staring into space and thinking, “Now what was that other thing that I needed to get done??”
However, if I do write down a list, it has solidified in my brain. Often I can just picture the list in my head without having to go and find the physical copy. It makes my day run a lot more smoothly.
Then, I take that list and break it down. What NEEDS to be done today? What could be done on other days of the week? What could be missed this week, if need be?
I circle the ones I want to get done today, put two stars beside tasks that have to get done earlier in the week, and I put one star beside things that can wait.
You could leave it there and use this as your master list. You could use a different system-number them in order of importance, for example- and leave it at that. However, this whole process takes about two minutes up until this point and, since I usually have five minutes extra in the morning, I choose to take it a step further.
Next, I take the circled and starred list and I scan the circled items, mentally evaluating which items will take the least amount of time and I list those to do first. The rest of the circled items get listed in order of length to accomplish and importance. Next, I list items starred that I would like to get done tomorrow. (Note: LIKE to do, not HAVE to do. None of this list is written in stone, but I feel freer knowing I have it to reference.) The rest of the items, the ones with one star, get quickly jotted down at the bottom as tasks for the rest of this week. I usually put them as an afterthought at the bottom of the list, since getting to them is no big deal and that part of the list will probably change. If I do get to those items, I can still cross them off there or make a new list mid-week.
Sometimes my day is packed and I have one page for one day, with tasks broken down into individual steps. In that case, I stop at one day. Some weeks I have a couple of pages to write, but I try to be realistic about my ability to get things done and will add a lot of tasks to “do next week”, if it is possible. I no longer stress out if things aren’t crossed off, but simply add them to the next day’s work. My lists take me about 5 minutes. If it is taking me longer to write the list, I realize I am being too ambitious and stop. There is no point in piling on too much for the week- I will just feel that I am drowning in tasks.
Today, most of my tasks are fairly quick except budgeting and planning dinners. Since it is the end of the month (already! wow!), my priority is budgeting and planning meals for the first half of February. Budgeting will make sure I stay within spending limits and planning meals will keep our grocery budget down and our food waste to a minimum. It is worth it since every penny must count if I am to reach my lifetime dreams.
Do you make lists in the same way?
Any Monday rituals that you do to make the start of the week easier?
What is your best planning day?
You may also enjoy reading….