Monday, November 12, 2012

Do Less, Accomplish More

My To-Do List screams at me. Like papers on my desk, it multiples. There's an Amish saying I've seen in tourist traps: The faster I go, the behinder I get.

How do I keep something helpful from turning into a monster? I've discovered a secret. I split my To-Do List in two. One list contains the big picture with everything that pops up in life, while the other is a daily list of priorities.

Here's a sampling of my Big Picture:

1) Write church blog.
2) Email update
3) Promised book review for friend (due in January)
4) Laundry
5) Gym
6) Swagbucks
7) Write out Christmas cards.
8) Christmas gift list. (I list each person, and jot ideas next to their names.)
9) Update bookkeeping and pay bills.
10) Call health insurance.

My devotional time and seeing Mom is a recurring item on all lists. Also, my Big List is much larger than what I've shown here.

My Daily Lists:


1. Gym
2. Vote
3. Laundry
4. Work
5. Swagbucks


1.  Gym
2.  Pay bills
3.  Swagbucks
4.  Cancel appointment and re-schedule.
5.  Work

You may have noticed that writing doesn't show up on any of these lists. I confess: I'm in a slump right now. I'm thinking about writing. I'm praying for direction on what to do with my trilogy. But...words are stuck like a chicken bone in my throat. (Yeah, I need a creative Heimlich maneuver.)

This post isn't about my writing woes though. The shorter lists help me take a bite out of that big elephant, while the longer list  reminds me there are other things on the agenda. Each one has a deadline. By scheduling the items on my dailies, they get done in a timely fashion.

By the way, my blog skin has disappeared. At least, I can't see it. Can you? Argh. Another thing to add to my list!

Writers and Readers: So, what do you think of my lists? How do you keep from feeling overwhelmed by all the "things you gotta do?"


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I'm going slowly forward - have done no 7, must do no 9 this week ... and generally move the elephant one plod at a time in a direction!

Well done - I'm getting there .. but just moving ... the behinder I get!!

Good luck and have a fun week .. Hilary

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi Susan,
We all feel overwhelmed at times. When I do, I rest. I stop everything and allow my body and mind to relax and renergize. A piece of dark chocolate also helps :)

Jessica Nelson said...

I like how you do your lists. I'm somewhat similar with mine though mostly I don't write it down.

I see the blog skin but there's a huge white space at the top of your blog. I have to scroll down to see the post.

Take care, Susan!

Loree Huebner said...

Love your new blog makeover!

I don't make lists everyday...but I do make them weekly.

Great do get a lot done!

Karen Lange said...

I think your system is a good one. I know I must remember not to stress so much over my to-do list. In the big picture, it doesn't really matter, you know?


P.S. Like the new blog look! :)

Rhonda Schrock said...

I think you have a good system, Susan. And maybe this is the time for you to just sit and listen? I sure have times when I'm dry, but He's never failed--not once--to give what's needed in the nick of time.



Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Hilary - I'm discovering that lists help keep me motivated and on course.

Hi Linda - Chocolate ALWAYS helps. :)

Hi Jess - I haven't found a header yet that will complement the blog skin. I'm working on it. This is all experimental for this techi-challenged chick.

Hi Loree - Thanks! I get a lot of satisfaction when I can cross a task off my list.

Hi Karen - The two-list system reduces the stress because I'm concentrating on only a few items.
Thanks, I loved the muted purple design.

Hi Rhonda - You're right about listening. These waiting times are the hardest for me.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

This is a test comment. Someone informed me they couldn't comment.

Anyone having trouble, email me or contact me on Facebook.


DenaNetherton said...

A list is good unless it makes me feel like a prisoner to it!

Nancy said...

I kind of use your method. I do my daily list every day and every so often, I need to do a big picture list of things that need to get done and the dates. I clip these on the back of my daily lists. It all works out, doesn't it?

I'm sorry but I don't know what a blog skin is. Your blog looks great to me.

Dorothy said...

Hi Susan, I can't see the skin either. Shame.. that happened to me once with my favourite free skin and I never recovered it. I hope you sort it out soon enough.
I love your list making. I'm a list maker too. Even to the point where I add things after I've done them...just to cross them off with flourish.
I hope the writing kicks in again. I'll be praying...
Dotti :)

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Can't see your blog background either.. sorry.
Well Susan, I totally understand what you are talking about. I feel I must write, but I can't get much done. No new ideas...
I have come to the point that I do what I MUST do and CAN do: writing blogposts (1 or 2 a week) and reading others (to be inspired) and write the articles and columns that are due and that I get paid for.
I have picked up knitting and crocheting.. yeah, really, it helps me to relax and think. So I am sure the muse will show up again ;)

I like your list, although I have gone from a TO DO list to a DONE list (much nicer when I look at it at the end of a day)

Sarah Forgrave said...

I do a similar thing, Susan. I have a daily to-do list and a general weekly list as well. I used to assign weekly things to certain days, but then I just ended up stressed when my day didn't allow for it. Giving myself flexibility has been nice. :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Dena - For me, it's length that sends me over the edge. Breaking it down into dailies takes the stress out of the list.

Hi Nancy - A blog skin is the design. The purple surrounding my text is the blog skin. :)

Hi Dotti - I thought I was the only one who did that! (Write an item down that I've finished so I could cross it off.)

Hi Marja - My new blog skin was slow loading just now, but it appeared.

Sorry you're having the same challenges as me. I've been trying to write an article for days, but it's like slogging through mud.

Hi Sarah - You bring up a great point! Flexibility = sanity. When my day doesn't go as planned, I just roll with it instead of stressing out.

Susan :)

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, Susan.

I'm a list maker, too, and like you, I split my lists into manageable segments. I find big to-do lists overwhelming.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

While it's a relief to get my lists out of my head and onto a piece of paper, it can be daunting. The smaller lists are a way of prioritizing what needs to be done today.

Susan :)

quietspirit said...

Hi Susan:
I sometimes make lists on paper,sometimes in my head. I get frustrated when I do a paper list and don't accomplish half of the items.
I, also, seem to be in a slump.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

Mom and I drove 1 1/2 hours today and visited with friends. The change of pace refreshed and encouraged me.

I'm learning those times are necessary to the creative process.

Susan :)