09 Apr Paper Part 2: The To-Do Ta-Da!
I challenge you this: say, “To-Do Ta-Da” five times without feeling the teensiest bit happy inside. Can’t do it? Good, because this post is all about making your to-do list a little more fun, a little less daunting, a little more manageable, and overall, clutter-less.
Let me preface this by saying I’m going to recommend an old school strategy; your grandmother could have done this. If you’re super-techie and must have your to-do list digitized, by all means, go for it. I, on the other hand, am a bit of a technology prude. I don’t kiss on the first digital date, so to speak. I never buy the funkiest new gadgets until they have proved themselves worthy and upright. I need them to meet my parents and take me out to a nice dinner before they’re getting anywhere near my intimate areas. (Maybe I am overdoing this metaphor… sorry.) In any case, I didn’t own a laptop until last year, I still don’t own a smart phone, and I can’t comprehend why I would ever want an iPad. Don’t judge me, but please, keep reading.
My to-do lists heretofore consisted of sticky notes in various colors in various areas of my home. At any given time, I’d have one on the fridge, reminding me to call the pediatrician, one in my purse reminding me to pick up diapers on the way home from work, and another on my dresser with a list of odd jobs that needed doing the next weekend… or month… or year… or hopefully before my kids graduate. This system worked okay, but it was scattered. All those sticky notes flocked around my house like colorful paper birds, in danger of flying out the nearest open window. Then Lori Firsdon (the organizing diva behind Forte Organizers) taught me about The Binder.
Yes, this was my To-Do Ta-Da! moment, the epiphany that replaced the nomadic sticky notes. It is a simple 3-ring binder with dividers and filler paper, the kind you can buy in the school supply section at any store. I labeled the dividers CALLS, ERRANDS, HOME, and IDEAS, since those are the main categories into which my to-do’s fall. (Note: This binder is just for my home/personal life. I chose to not include any work to-do’s, since I already have a good system there.)
The glorious thing about the binder is that it is not a pre-set organizer, so you can add and remove paper at any time. Now, before you chastise me for using the word “glorious” to describe a binder, let me give you an example of it’s awesomeness. The other day I was looking through a magazine and saw a craft I’d like to do with my kids. I ripped out the page, 3-hole punched it, and put it in the ideas section. (I love the ideas section! How cool is it to have a place to store all your ideas? It is my favorite tab.) Previously, that craft page would have wound up in some random area of my house, with a very slim chance of being relocated when wanted. But now it is in my binder, waiting for me when I am ready to use it.
In the home section, I keep a running list of things I’d like done around the house. Therefore, when I finally get around to doing some of those things… or asking my husband to do them… or, let’s face it, paying a professional to do them, I can remember what I want done. I can even rip out the page, hand it to the handyman, and declare the only two words that result in any major repair work being done at the Lounsburys: “Bill me.” And it’s okay if that list sits there for a few months with nothing crossed off. It is locked into my binder, which is a much safer place for it than a flighty sticky note or the the often-overloaded confines of my brain.
Another cool thing about the binder is that it can change as your life changes. I foresee eventually adding a section for my kids, as they grow and get busier. It will be a good place to put forms from school, reminders of my day to bring snack, tee-ball schedules, and the like.
Are you having any To-Do Ta-Da’s? I certainly hope so!