All lists are not created equal. Using a list is a skill that I believe is crucial to running a business, a household, and indeed your life in general. But what is the best way to create and implement lists?

Many busy mums have lists as long as their arms.


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There is nothing more daunting than being faced with a huge number of tasks to be done in a limited time that realistically you know is impossible. But these things still need to be accomplished. So what is the best way to manage it and get through your list…with low stress levels? 

If you are new to list writing it may take you a while to get the hang of it and work out the best style for you personally. Some women like to write a very detailed list. For example instead of just writing “do washing” on the list they may like to write do washing, put washing online, take washing off-line, fold clothes, put clothes away. There are those who really enjoy being able to cross things off the list. And that is fine if that is your style. But where do you begin?

There are many different approaches you could take, so I will just give you my own personal strategies and steps I take:

1) Create categories for your lists

These can be very broad, or they can be more specific depending on your own personal choice.

You may choose to have categories such as admin tasks, work and business, household tasks and family stuff.

So for example in admin tasks, you may group bill paying, balancing your budget, creating systems and schedules, invoicing and so on. Household tasks may include washing, ironing cleaning bathrooms, cooking and so on.



2) Write a master list

You can choose to write a complete master list with every task on it that needs to be done in a certain time frame, maybe a day maybe a week.

You may even extrapolate this list to make it a monthly list. To make your list more ordered and organised it will be helpful to group each task in its appropriate category right from the start. So have different lists for each category.

3) Prioritise the items on your list

Some things will be much more urgent and will require immediate attention. Others have a much looser deadline and can be done at a later date.

You can order your list by highlighting the extremely important tasks, placing an asterisk or star next to them, or you can even prioritise them in a numbered list. You should do this for each of your different list categories.

4) Write a list of 6

Make a priority list of six items only. This will be your daily list. By only having six items on this list, you will be giving yourself a much greater chance of actually completing all of the tasks in the time you have available. And your frame of mind will be much more positive when you are not confronted by a huge, seemingly never-ending list of things for you to accomplish. You then need to be diligent about completing these tasks.

5) Plan your list the night before

By spending 15 to 20 minutes each evening planning the next day’s tasks you will be saving yourself 30 to 40 minutes of fluffing around the next morning deciding on where to start your day, gathering your thoughts or being distracted by e-mails or children.

Instead your plan is of action is written down and ready to go. No excuses!

So now you have your list writing sorted. You have set up a system, which will allow you to really be productive by working through the various tasks in order of priority without being overwhelmed.

So, one more thing that you can cross off your list!

How do you manage your day? SHARE your tips in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • I would be absolutely lost without my to do lists!

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  • Great tips and hints here on how to master your to do list. Now all I have to do is find the time to actually write a list

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  • Love lists! Thanks for the extra tips, especially the part about prioritising the items. Thanks!

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  • I always have a ‘ to do ‘ list as having 5 children, I seem to need one haha.

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  • I live by my lists. I find once I start ticking things off, I just want to keep doing more!
    Plus, I have a terrible memory, so there are lists, notepads and sticky notes all over my house!

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  • I find being organised and having lists make life so much easier.

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  • My to do list is as long as Santa’s list of names…. Eeeeek

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  • Maybe A list would help me organise my day a bit more!

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  • I do weekly little lists. This way it’s not overwhelming as it is achievable. When I get to the end of the week with everything crossed off as done, it inspires me to do another one for the next week. And so on

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  • This is awesome, I never finish anything I start.

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  • I FOUND THAT THE MORE KIDS I HAD THE MORE ORGANIZED I BECAME! LOL!!!


    • I agree. You have no choice or you go under.

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  • I need to be organised so this had some great advice.

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  • I do this and it works a treat!!!! I also treat myself on the days that everything on the list gets done. Might be something as simple as read for half an hour or have a glass of wine with dinner

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  • Interesting read!

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  • I love being organised and using lists. Feels great to be able to cross things off!

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