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