The list doesn’t destroy culture; it creates it. Wherever you look in cultural history, you will find lists. – Umberto Eco
These are the lists that I consider essential to my sanity. I always go through times of neglecting them, and then I feel crazy, and then I return to them and feel great relief.
Yes, a calendar is a list. There are three essential calendar rules to keep a calendar working:
- Keep one calendar that has every commitment on it.
- Always write down every time-specific commitment or appointment right away.
- Look at your calendar every day.
Here’s a video tour of my calendar, which I keep in Google Cal:
My ebook, Paperless Home Organization, goes into great detail about how to set up and use your computer-based calendar smartly.
2. Task list.
You might choose to keep a running list on paper or in Evernote, or you might choose an app. What you use doesn’t matter so much as that you keep a list of the things you want and need to do, you keep it pared down, and you look at it regularly.
3. School list
I keep a school list on my command clipboard, and each of my elementary students also has a clipboard with a weekly checklist. I’ll be sharing those later in the month.
But, however you organize your task lists, somehow you have to know what you’re supposed to get done each day, even if it never seems to all happen. It’d be even more crazy-making if you didn’t even know what you’re aiming for.
4. Menu list
Getting dinner on the table with less fuss and less preparation and energy will help decrease the wear-and-tear on us during our days. Make a list of simple meals and keep those ingredients on hand. Make your grocery list run mostly on autopilot by starting with a master pantry list.
Simplified Dinners lays all those pieces out for you so that dinner can be open-and-go, even if you don’t think about it until school is over.
5. Running list
Keeping a place to capture thoughts or ideas or notes or craziness-out-of-your-head is a habit to cultivate. It is ubiquitous capture. It is doing mini brain dumps whenever you feel internally scattered and distracted.
All these lists, in fact, will help during those times. You can look at them and be relieved. You’re busy, you’re getting a lot done, but you’re not crazy.