Day 7: Simplifying Time by Planning

Today is Day 7 of the 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life Challenge. If you want to jump in, go get the book at Amazon, Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life.

I am all about planning.  I have to-do lists that defy scientific logic.  Everything goes on my list, including calendar appointments, which also show up on my, you know, calendar.  You might think that’s overkill, but I have a system here.  First, I schedule things out, sometimes two months or so, and those go on the calendar.  Then, every week or two I review my calendar and enter appointments on my to-do list.  That gives me just once place to look each day, well mostly.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs /

In addition to calendar appointments, such as doctor visits, I include real to-dos, such as errands.  I’m almost out of tea, for instance, so I have Tea Embassy on my list for Wednesday.  I love loose leaf tea.  Once I discovered it, I have never returned to tea bags, or dust, as Ducky from NICS would call it.  Of course, such an opinion must be spoken in a British accent with the slightly snobby dismissal of a tea connoisseur.  Anyway, Tea Embassy is near one of my clients in downtown Austin, and I put a reminder on my to-do list to swing by Wednesday to pick up four ounces of my favorite, Lady Grey.  By the way, Tea Embassy sells online.  Check them out!

Sometimes, my to-do list is the only thing that reminds me what day it is.  If I look at today’s list, and it says Piano, I know it’s Tuesday.  Otherwise, I often have a heck of a time figuring out the days of the week.  Tell me I’m not the only one.

Another benefit of a to-do list is showing me how absolutely ridiculous it is to schedule 15 things on one day.  Honestly, if my to-dos are more than a screen long on my phone, I’d just as soon go back to bed.  I schedule my to-dos in manageable chunks, as much as possible.  Of course, with five kids and an elderly parent to run around, my best plans can be thwarted at any time.  Then, my to-do list reminds me of where to pick up when I get home from the ER in the middle of the night.  Everything rolls over to the next day, and there you go.  Nothing falls through the cracks.  That’s not to say I don’t sometimes just delete things to get them off my list.  Life must be tamed by any means possible at times.

I use an iPhone app, Appigo’s Todo.  It sorts by day.  You can create multiple lists, setup recurring tasks and reminders.  Star favorites.  Way more bells and whistles than I use.  There are lots of similar apps for Apple and Droid products.  Find one that meets your needs.  Of course, a pen and paper do just as well.  I choose a smartphone app, because, you know my phone would have to be surgically detached from my hand before I lost it.  A piece of paper would get lost .2 milliseconds after I put it in my purse.

You might think that a to-do list would create more stress by becoming a slave driver, and it can, at times.  However, it usually removes the stress of remembering things, of constantly running behind and wondering where I need to be next.  I’m busy, and as much as I’d like to simplify that, it won’t happen anytime soon.  See paragraph 4.

One thing I forgot to mention is scheduling in time for fun.  Do it!  Put dates with your significant other on your list.  Park time with the kids.  Wiggle in a few hours to do your favorite hobby.  Your life is your’s.  A to-do list should reflect your needs and priorities.  No. One. Else’s. Except for the aforementioned children and elderly parent, of course.

If you’re having problems scheduling your days to make sense, check out Amy Lynn Andrews’ book, Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free.  I reviewed it earlier this year, and it’s a great book.

Tell me about your schedule tips.  I’m always looking for advice!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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