Simplify: 7 Guiding Principles to Help Anyone Declutter Their Home and Life

All About To-Do Lists: Thinking Through Your Needs

source: JD'na

source: JD'na

There’s been one time since I became a mother that I had nothing on my to-do list – no short-term to-dos, no long-term goals. Nothing. It was kind of a bizarre feeling. As a stay-at-home mom with a tiny infant, I had no idea what to do with myself with nothing left on my to-do list.

Now, that is a distant memory. My to-do lists are filled with projects that I’ll never get to, things that have to be taken care of ASAP and things that would be nice to get to if I get a moment. With so many ideas of things I should or could be doing, it’s important to me to have an organized to-do list where I can prioritize to make sure the important things really do get done.

What about you? What’s on your to-do list?

What’s On Your To-Do List?

Think about your responsibilities and the categories of items on your to-do list. You may separate these out into separate lists or you may keep them together on one, but it’s still helpful to know what you need to include on your to-do list.

  • What types of things does your to-do list include? Household chores? Blogging ideas? Work responsibilities?
  • Do you work at home? Outside of the home?
  • Do you homeschool? Have children attending school?
  • Do you volunteer at church or another organization?

Preferences for To-Do Lists

Think about the to-do lists you’ve used in the past or are currently using to get an idea for your preferences and needs.

  • What works for you about your current system? What doesn’t?
  • Are you the type of person who writes to-do lists just so you can have something to check off? Or does the idea of a written to-do list feel confining to you?
  • Do you prefer a pen-to-paper list? Or is your preference to write on a white board or keep your to-do list on the computer?
  • Does anyone else need access to your to-do list? Do you prefer to keep them private?

Think about your preferences this week as we look at different options for organizing your to-do lists. Remember, even if a system sounds fun and nifty, if it doesn’t really meet your needs, it’s probably not the best one for you. Thinking about your preferences before I share some different systems is a good way to prevent getting excited about an idea that just won’t work for you in the long run.

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About the Author

Mandi Ehman

Hi. My name is Mandi and I’m an organizing junkie. I’m also a wife, and Momma to four little girls (5.5, 4, 2.5 and a baby!). I've worked at home since our oldest was a baby, and like a lot of other moms, my life is a constant balancing act of caring for my family and my home, meeting my obligations and finding time for hobbies in there somewhere. Oh, yeah, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m somewhat of a kitchen dunce and I only like to pretend that I’m crafty. Read more here!

4 Responses to “ All About To-Do Lists: Thinking Through Your Needs ”

  1. I love to do lists and have my own little system for them. I think you make a great point that everyone’s system should be different to suit their own needs and preferences. After all, if it doesn’t work for you, what is the point?

    Taylor at Household Management 101’s last blog post…Mar 6, Subscribe To My Site For Free Through Email Of With Feedburner


  2. Every time I comment on here, it seems like I talk about one of my obsessions. Here is another: legal pads. It seems like I have a legal pad on every available table in my home. It is my go-to for list making, note taking, etc. I like them because they are perfect for keeping my many lists organized.

    I am still “perfecting” my list making ways… it seems that for me, different lists require different methods.

    Amy’s last blog post…Menu Plan Monday


  3. Amy, that’s funny! I used to have magnetic list pads all over my house in case I need to write something down! I’ve since cut back.

    I use my paper/pen planner to write weekly to-do’s & my grocery list. I have a magnetic pad on the fridge for warehouse club store items, and I keep a list of “big goals” on my personal blog which I fill in my weekly to do’s when I have a spot or some free time. I don’t mind people seeing them b/c they might be able to give me motivation to get them done!

    I personally like the physical action of scratching or checking something off the list. But when the list gets too messy from scratching off, I have been known to re-write it to make it “prettier”. :-D

    I have lists at work too. Those are all paper lists I keep in a binder and check off. I’m not as particular about them being messy for some reason.

    Most of my lists really serve as memory joggers since I can’t seem to remember much lately! Even if it’s a movie I want to see, I put it on a list somewhere in my planner so if I ever get a few free hours one day I’ll know what I could go watch! Pretty sad.

    Lori’s last blog post…I got my FREE Suave coupon today


  4. I love this planner at that has space for making a list for each month and every day! (I’m not affiliated in any way, just a very happy customer!) I love making lists and having a place where all my lists from the past months are all together and build on each other. It also has suggested lists for checking off eight glasses of water every day and checking off fruits and veggies and cleaning tasks like make bed, pick up clutter etc. I would recommend it to any fellow list junkie!


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