Supercharge your Productivity with Free Printable To Do Lists
Life can be crazy. Life is crazy. And busy. And hectic. Do you forget to do things? Me, too! So, I started a new habit that has been a lifesaver for this busy mom. You're probably familiar with the basic concept of a To Do List, but I've put a little spin on it that will really help busy moms who feel overwhelmed with too much to do. Plus, I've got some super cute, free printable To Do Lists for you!
To Do Lists have been around forever and, if you're like most people, you've probably used them from time to time. I've always been a list person, but since becoming a mom, I've found To Do Lists to be invaluable. When that feeling of “oh, there is just too much to do, I am never going to get it all done” starts creeping in, you know it's time to make a To Do List!
How I Use a To Do List
I like to use To Do Lists in a few different ways; that's why I included a few different formats in the free printables I created for this post. I also realize different people like different colors, so each list comes in both blue and pink themes, so you can choose whichever you prefer. 🙂
One way I like to use To Do lists is writing down important items for the month. So, for this I created a full page list that you could put on your fridge or cork-board for the month. Things like home projects, deadlines, or large cleaning chores that need to be completed that month could be put on this list.
I don't know about you, but I always think of great birthday or Christmas gift ideas for people at the most random times. Then, when it's time to buy gifts I have, of course, forgotten that awesome idea I had a few months ago. A few years ago I started keeping a “gift list” To Do List. Now, I can just write those brilliant gift ideas down when I have them!
For my weekly To Do List or daily To Do List, I prefer something a little smaller than a full page. I like to plan tasks for each day because I feel like it makes them seem more manageable when they are broken down to just a few tasks per day. But, I also like to see my week planned out! What to do?!
So, I made sheets of small To Do Lists that can fit the tasks for each day. Each sheet contains six lists, which means one for each weekday and then one left over. I'm a firm believer that at least one (but preferably both!) days on the weekend should not have a To Do List. At our house those days are reserved for family time since my husband is home from work, so I generally don't have too many things I need to get done on the weekends. Plus, we busy moms need a day off! No lists on the weekends!
Still not sure writing a To Do List will help you?
Benefits of Writing a To Do List
Here are some of the benefits to writing a to do list:
- Provides Accountability. Nobody likes to be considered unreliable. When you write that list, you are saying “this is what I am going to do today.” So, when the day is done, you don't want to have nothing crossed out on your list. You said you were going to do it, so do it.
- Boosts Productivity. Do you struggle with procrastination? When you write each item on the list , it somehow makes us feel more compelled to actually do it. So, just by creating a to do list, you are more likely to get some (or all) of your tasks done.
- Helps You Prioritize. When you start writing your to do list, you will start to see the important items pop out on your list. Instead of just doing whatever task pops into your mind (“oh yeah, I was supposed to make a doctor appointment”), you can prioritize and accomplish your most important tasks sooner.
- Takes Out The Overwhelm. You know that “oh my gosh, I just have too much to do I don't even know where to start” feeling that so many busy moms have? Creating a to do list can help that feeling. When you write down individual tasks, they suddenly feel like just that – individual tasks instead of just “too much to do”.
- Relieves Stress. When you take away that feeling of, well, feeling overwhelmed, your stress level goes way down. Now, suddenly, you feel like you can accomplish something. By identifying each task, you are making them into something concrete instead of just some abstract thing hanging over you, weighing you down.
- Helps You Focus. Actually seeing the tasks on the piece of paper (or you phone) helps you to easily refocus if you get sidetracked. Imagine you are daydreaming (or browsing on Pinterest), then you glance down and see your list Bam! Back to work!
- To Do Lists Don't Forget. How many times have you thought “oh yeah, I'll remember that” and then…..you didn't. When you write it down your brain no longer has to remember it (hello stress relief). Now it is safely on your list for you to double check whenever needed. No remembering required!
- Provides A Sense Of Accomplishment. This is my favorite one, I think. There is nothing better than looking at your list after you've crossed off all (or most) of the things and thought to yourself “Yes! I had such a productive day!” (mental high five). Even as you go through the day and cross off each task as you complete it, it just feels…so…..GOOD!
Tips For A Successful To Do List
- Be Realistic. I once read that your list for each day shouldn't be bigger than a post-it note. Any more than that and you are setting yourself up for failure. Keep it small.
- Cross Off Completed Tasks. This might seem like a no-brainer to some. But, it can be easy to forget as you go through your day. Crossing tasks off gives a great feeling of accomplishment! It also makes it easier to see what is left to do.
- Group Similar Tasks. If you have three tasks that need to be done on the computer, try to do them at the same time. This saves you from having to go back and forth between areas of the house. It also helps that once you are focused on one type of task (like making phone calls), it's easier to finish those while you have the tools out (phone and computer/phone book).
- Plan The Big Picture. If you have a bunch of tasks that need to be completed in the same week, spread them out. Use my small, daily lists and use one list per day. These give you all your days in one place, but split into separate, smaller lists.
I hope now you see how wonderful a To Do List can be for a busy mom! Try making one tomorrow (or grab my free daily To Do Lists and plan out next week. I hope they help you increase your productivity as much as they have me! Download your free To Do Lists Now!