To Do or Not To Do - the List!

ORGANIZATION, May 2007, by Jenifer Merifield


To Do or Not To Do
How a simple to-do list will help you
get more done ...and have more free time!

to do listsHow bad is it when your friend calls with an awesome idea to do something fun after school, but you can’t go because you have homework and chores to do? Or worse, you say yes, you go out, and then you find yourself so far behind later that you’re up all night scrambling to catch up. Stress!

There is a solution!
This is an easy first step to something called Time Management. It’s about knowing what you have to do, and preparing for it so that you are in control of your own time. Making lists are a great way to stay on track. Here’s what you do:

#1 It’s much easier with a computer and printer, but if you don’t have access to one, get several pieces of paper and some nice coloured pens. Go ahead and be as creative as you like with this little project!

#2 Next, create horizontal lines all the way down the page, with little check boxes to the left. This is where you will fill in your list.

#3 Every day, as soon as you get home from school, get comfy, and sit down with a new to-do list. FILL IT IN! If you have stuff in your school agenda, write down those items onto your list. For instance, if you have Math, Science and studying French for homework, write each one on a separate line.

#4 Then, add any after school activities to your list like sports, music or dance lessons. Don’t forget to add your chores and other at-home responsibilities.

Now for the “managing your time” part.
Go through your list, and in the little boxes to the left, prioritize which tasks are most important by numbering each one in order.

Now you know exactly what you have to do, and which items are most important. If you want to take it one step further, to the right of each task, and in a different colour, write the amount of time you estimate each one will take.

Timing will help you plan where to fit in your breaks... like must-see tv shows and phone time for girl-talk. Hey! why not add them to your to-do list as well? After all, free time to relax and unwind is necessary in your hectic days!

The most satisfying part of the to-do list is crossing off completed tasks! As soon as you complete a task, get a coloured pen or marker and draw a line through it. The more you start to see those items crossed off, the more encouraged you will be to get everything done.

If some of your tasks don’t get done today, simply add them to tomorrow’s list before you go to bed. Now you won’t forget anything important, you’ll be in control of your time, and you won’t feel stressed!

Stick with it every day. Before long it will become one of those great habits that you just won’t want to live without!

~ Jenifer

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