Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To Do Or Not To Do (Lists, That Is)

Do you know what I realized tonight? I volunteered at the December PTO meeting to chair and investigate doing a school supply program for Mister Man's school (no, they don't do one today). I forgot about that until now, and there's a meeting in a little over a week.

Any guesses what I'll be doing in the small bit of free time between eating lunch and heading to Mister Man's school to pick him up for his speech group? How did this happen?

Well, I know how it happened.

Right now, I sit with a to do list a mile long. Granted, it's only a mental to do list, as I haven't yet had the fortitude to actually write it down and memorialize what I need to do. Part of that is paralysis by the thought of so much, and part of it is sheer laziness, knowing I can get done the most critical bits based on what I've got in my head.

And that new commitment of looking into developing a school supply program? It slipped my mind because ... because it was the holidays and it happened on a Friday and I had gone downtown to visit my friend's twins immediately upon the conclusion of the meeting and well lots of reasons, none really good.

Do I think this is the only thing that's slipped my mind? Not even close. I watched Melisa put together a rather impressive list of goals for a twelve day period, and I was jealous. So many of the items on her list are the ones on my list, too, but I haven't had the "time" to do them.

To be honest, she's just as busy or busier than I am, yet she didn't find the time, she made the time. And she remembered what she had to do because she wrote put her to do list on a calendar online so she received reminders and knew exactly what she had to do. I used to do that - albeit on my pretty whiteboard that is currently laying under two Christmas decorations on my cats' condo.

That doesn't help me much.

As soon as I finish this post (really, I mean it!), I'm picking up that whiteboard and erasing all the tasks I completed a month ago, the last time I used it. I'm going to divide it into sections of tomorrow, this week, and future. And I'm going to start writing down what I need to do.

The hardest things for me when it comes to writing to do lists are breaking down the tasks into small enough bites and properly assigning time to each task.

If I write down that I need to "Provide proposal for School Supply program" that's a little overwhelming. There are so many things I need to do before I get to that point from identifying companies to working with teachers to ID their school supply lists to requesting quotes from various companies and way more. Those are the tasks I need to put into my to do list. Simply sending teachers an email alerting them to what we're looking to do and asking if last year's school supply lists are a good start is manageable. In fact, I might even do that tonight.

I'll also get going on a to do list kick and then start failing with my daily to dos. Instead of crossing off the seven items, I only completed three. Being more realistic in figuring out what I can do is critical to ensuring that I don't begin to feel like I'm drowning in seaweed. I think I'll actually start doing weekly to do lists rather than daily. That way if I can't get something done in a particular day because something came up (like yesterday when I tried to drop my ring off at the jeweler to be fixed only to pull into the parking lot and discover he's closed on Mondays), it isn't a big deal.

So if you'll excuse me, I have a to do list to create. But hey - if anyone has any experience with school supply programs, I'll happily take some advice!


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In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of Take the Cake by M.F. Chapman as a part of the book club From Left to Write. There was no compensation involved, and our purpose is to write a post inspired by the book versus doing a traditional book review.

9 comments:

Susie January 5, 2011 at 5:38 AM  

You have just inspired another installment in my time management series: being realistic on how much time things take. I have a friend who lives in a time warp and we often take bets on how late she is going to be for events. That's not how I want to be. Thanks for the idea:-)

Amy January 5, 2011 at 2:29 PM  

It seems everything on my to-do list takes so much longer than I anticipate. It's great that you're breaking things down into manageable chunks. I need to do that too. If only I could find that notebook I was going to use...

Mommy Instincts January 5, 2011 at 2:47 PM  

Ok fine. I'll do it too then. Feels as though I am in the same seaweed covered boat as you are, and the to-do list in my head is just a excuse for me to be lazy and "forget" what I had to do that day. It's going down in writing and being posted for me to see daily, so I don't forget. Thanks friend!

Unknown Mami January 5, 2011 at 10:09 PM  

Happy New Year!

I can not remember anything unless I write it down. I don't necessarily get things done when I write them down though.

Michelle January 6, 2011 at 8:28 PM  

Susie - Glad I could help. It is amazing how easy it is to just list things and then not feel like you did anything because the time management wasn't there. Me, I only have 7 things to finish on my to do list for tonight, only one of which probably won't get done. Fifteen are already done (not counting the things like going to the chiro, PTO meeting, Tae Kwon Do, making dinner, etc). And the tasks I ended up adding and doing during the day that branched out from an original task. Oops.

Amy - I know the feeling. One of my to dos for today involves finding the notebook I wrote things down in back in November. There are times when it's best to just admit defeat and find a new plan ;)

Jen - Go go go. I got SO much done today, and I was literally flying through my day on a great mood because of it.

Unknown Mami - Happy New Year to you, too! At least you remember what you didn't do though. Assuming that's a good thing. Hmmm.

NYCPatty January 7, 2011 at 9:21 PM  

Good luck with the school program. You can do it! Sound like you have a great starting point by checking in with the teachers.

Brenda Bartella Peterson January 8, 2011 at 7:38 AM  

I can totally relate, ladies. At one time I was the young overwhelmed mother juggling too many balls in the air. I wish I had known then the time managment principles that I know now. So I am shamelessly promoting my Last Time Management Course You Will Ever Need to all my mom-bloggers. It is an online course arriving during January on my website. Stop by, take the course. You will be glad you did!

septembermom January 9, 2011 at 6:21 PM  

I do need some help in the time management area. I also need some help with managing my patience these days :) Can you tell that the kids are driving me crazy??

Michelle January 10, 2011 at 8:38 PM  

Patty - Thanks. I'm surprised by how easy it is so far, but wow did the first quote prices surprise me!

Brenda - Thanks?

Kelly - Patience? Ha. I mean ummm yes, I understand completely.

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