Live Intentionally: Create a Simple To Do List and Calendar System

live intentionally create a simple to do list and calendar system

I love my role as manager of my home. I’m always seeking to improve my time management skills in order to live intentionally and promote peace in our home. If our life is in constant chaos with no time to rest, then we grow weary and miss opportunities to serve the Lord.

Going hand-in-hand with developing a mission statement for my life as well as developing a simple schedule and routine, creating a simple to-do list and calendar system is important in order to live intentionally!

My Simple To Do List and Calendar System

google calendar

1. Manage a master calendar.

Keeping up with the goings and comings of our little family is no small feat, especially with a husband who travels a lot. After trying cute, hanging calendars, printable perpetual calendars, dry erase calendar with color coded markers, and various other methods of keeping my family’s master calendar organized, I have finally settled on Google Calendar.

My iPhone is always with me. My husband’s iPhone is always with him. We can share our calendars and invite one another to events and activities easily and quickly. Furthermore, if something repeats weekly, monthly, yearly, etc., I can have it multiply on my calendar without wasting my time writing it over and over again.

google calendar

Then I color code each entry so I can evaluate how I’m managing my priorities. If there is a lot of green with very little blue, then I know I’m on the computer too much and not participating in enough outreach in my community. I can see at a glance where my priorities lie!

2. Create a master to-do list.

My master to-do list exists to keep thoughts and ideas off the ferris wheel in my brain and on paper (or computer screen) to ensure I don’t forget anything. A master to-do list is a running list of all the tasks that need to be completed. I use this list to make my weekly and daily to-do list.

For the longest time, my master to-do list resided in my homemaking binder. It worked well, but I would often forget to add an item if I wasn’t near my homemaking binder at the time. I would have several lists  waiting to be incorporated into my binder. Keeping my master to-do list in my homemaking binder just wasn’t working for me.

Then I discovered Trello! I use this online software to manage my master to-do list, which also has an app for both my iPhone and iPad (read: I have access at all times!). In addition, I use Trello for Butterfly Ministries, LLC. You can read about how I use Trello as a blogger here.

Managing My Master To Do List with Trello

This is the home page of my Trello account. Under “My Boards” I have have a “@Next Actions” list.

Managing My Master To Do List with Trello

When you click on this board, it opens up to my master to-do list. I have the broken up my master to-do list into the following sub-categories:

  • Inbox – I brain dump ideas into my inbox lists and assign them to a categorized list when I have a chance. This is particularly useful when I need to jot a thought down quickly while sitting at a red light.
  • To Do This Week – I move cards from my categorized lists to this section each week. I explain this more below.
  • Home – Anything that has to be done around the house (mostly cleaning tasks and repairs) gets added to this list.
freezer cooking inventory list using Trello
  • Cooking – I keep my freezer inventory on a card under this category. As you can see above, I created a checklist for meals I have in the freezer. As we use them up, I can easily check them off our list (or delete altogether). I also keep a pantry inventory and freezer cooking plan under my cooking list (with checklists to boot). The possibilities for this list is endless!
  • New Baby Needs – I keep a running list of all the things we need to complete before our new baby arrives.
  • Homeschool – I jot down ideas I want to try, our plan for the month, curriculum to check out, etc.
  • Computer – Anything I need to do when I’m on the computer goes under this list. This is NOT blog related. This is personal computer needs. You can see how I use Trello for my blog here.
managing my home with trello
  • Inventory Needs – With growing children, I have to constantly be on the lookout for clothes, shoes, hats, scarves, etc. I keep a running list of clothing needs for each member of the family. I also list any special outfits and household needs here that I want to be on the lookout for.
  • Errands – This is self explanatory, but anything outside the home I need to take care goes on this list (e.g.,  return books to the library, pick up stamps from the post office).
  • Waiting For – Another one that’s self-explanatory. If there is something I need to complete, but I’m waiting on someone, I move the card to this list. For example, I need to make a decision regarding a pediatrician. I gave the information to my husband and am waiting on his input. I can’t move forward until he gets back to me. So I add it to this list.

3. Create a weekly to-do list.

using trello to manage my home

I use my master calendar and master to-do list to create a very loose weekly to-do list. I make a list of all the things I must accomplish this week, as well as all the things I would like to accomplish this the week. I use Trello for gathering this list by simply moving cards to my weekly to do list board. So easy!

4. Daily to-do list.

Each day I create a daily to-do list. This is the one area I have not yet gone mobile. There is something about pencil and paper that just works for me. Sometimes I get fancy and use this printable for creating my daily to-do list. Other days I keep it simple and write it on any scrap of paper I can get my hands on.

Because I tend to put too much on my daily to-do list, I will first brain dump my “wish” to-do list. Then I go back and prioritize the list by labeling each item with a 1, 2, or 3. Anything that absolutely must be completed today gets a a one beside it. Something that would make my life easier tomorrow if I completed today gets a two. Everything else gets a three.

Then I look at all of my to-do’s with a one beside it and list them on a new sheet of paper in the order of importance. I do the same thing with the two’s and three’s.

Once I have completed this short activity, I have a list that I can begin to work through in order of importance. Very simple!

Implementing this simple to-do list and calendar system has been such a blessing to my family. Of course, I don’t always get it right, and some days I don’t create a to-do list for the day. I am human. I promise! ;) But I do strive to live intentionally by using this system.

Tell me! How do you keep up with all of your tasks? What systems do you have in place?

Getting It Together

Comments

  1. juby ann says

    hi…. thank u for sharing this…. i am married and have an 8 year old daughter. everything worked out well before my baby came even without a schedule and to do list. (and sometimes i loved the thrill of chaos) but after my baby came, its different. time flies!!!!!.. i created list but dint find the list wn i needed it. i was trying hard to keep a homemaking binder, but it dint work out 4 me. I loved this nd i have already started working on it on my pc. nw i pray 4 an android or ipad or an iphone!!!!! :-) once again thanks 4 sharing..may god bless u n use u abundantly!!!!!

  2. says

    I’ve tried to create something similar to this in Evernote – however I keep forgetting to look at my list in it and I keep forgetting to go to all my different lists. I think I definitely need to check Trello out – it sounds pretty simple to move things around this way. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Crystal recently posted..Worn Out & Overwhelmed? 5 Tips to fix itMy Profile

    • says

      I tried Evernote too and had the same problem. I guess because Trello organizes things the way my mind works, and how I was already trying to do it on paper, it makes it easy to refer to instead. It’s definitely worth checking out!

  3. says

    Leigh Ann, I love reading about how other people organise things – I have picked up most of the ways I do things through the tips of others. In fact, it was your review of Trello on Christian Mommy Blogger that has made it my main tool in organising my blogs.
    I use Cozi calendar which is a great way to organise family life with colour codes for all the family members, regular schedules and syncs with my hubby’s Gmail calendar.
    Great post
    Blessings
    Mel from Connect With God

    • says

      I love getting ideas from others too! It’s the best way, in my opinion. And I love Trello. I use it all the time in all areas of my life. It is such a helpful tool! Glad you found this post helpful.

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