Beating Your To-Do Lists

There you are at the office on Friday afternoon thinking to yourself that you’ve got your whole weekend ahead of you. (I’m speaking hypothetically of course. I neither work in an office or know what it’s like to have weekends off.) You know you’ve got a lot to do at home and so you begin to write out a to do list of everything you want to get accomplished. You say to yourself that this weekend will be the one where you get everything done and you can finally relax because you’re caught up on work around the house. But then the weekend comes and goes and you find that you only got a small portion of your list accomplished and your precious time away from your job was filled with fruitless hours of trying to accomplish work that ultimately didn’t get finished because real life happens and family needs or whatever have derailed your carefully planned to do list. Feeling disappointed and anything but rested you return to work on Monday and already begin to calculate next weekend’s to do list that this time will succeed!

I’ve been in this cycle far too many times. I’ve tried different methods of breaking the cycle to varying degrees of only partial success. Recently though I tried a whole new approach to to do lists. If I know that, by some miracle, I will have multiple days off in a row coming up I will try to make a big to do list several days in advance. If I don’t specifically write down everything that needs done around the house things will be forgotten, it just happens. Once I have made my list I try to get as many things accomplished on that list as possible before the days off even arrive. The goal here is to get my giant list down to just a few things before the weekend starts, so that when I do have time off from work I’m not spending all of that time working. Otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose of having time off doesn’t it?

Give it a shot and see what happens. I know that when I get off work each day the last thing I want to do is more work, but if it means a day or two without having anything that needs done to do, well then that is completely worth it.