Organised habit #1: write lists

Organised habit: writing

I once worked with someone who used to constantly scribble memos for herself on sticky notes: her desk was a jumble of crumpled scraps of paper. I preferred my single daily list that was taped to the front of the planner

I carried with me throughout the day. Now, I have to confess, I too have notes on scraps of paper throughout my home.

I know, I should consolidate and keep all my notes in the one ‘bucket’, but when I think of something I must remember, I don’t always have my planner with me. I could be trying to get to sleep at night, I could be at the shops, or in the middle of cooking dinner when I think of something.

Sticky note To Do list in planner

You can just stick the note in your planner, and if you don’t get to those tasks, you can move the note over to the next day.

I think there are two types of people in this world: those who write lists and those who can keep it all in their heads. I am definitely the former. And I like paper, the good quality stuff, and pens that write well. No smart phone apps for me.

When you write a list- even just a list of errands to do at the shops, it reinforces the important things in your mind. It helps you remember, and prioritise your time by doing the important things first. You know the Pareto 80:20 Principle? Well, if you start your day with a list, you can spend 20 percent of your time doing the things that will make the biggest impact.

For me, writing lists is also a form of brainstorming. I often come up with my best ideas when I have a pen in my hand. The list becomes a plan; and planning leads to success.

When you are at home with children, your days lose all their structure, and each day begins to feel the same. I never really feel like I am accomplishing much, because whenever I start a task, invariably my children will need my help and I have to abandon it to go to them. So I’ve developed a night-time ritual that helps me feel a little more productive.

Once the children are in bed, I sit down, clear my desk, and I write out a list of things to do for the next day. Sometimes I’m just too tired, and I just rely on the previous day’s list, but it does help to begin each new day with a fresh list of priorities. I keep it on display so I can refer to it as soon as I have a chance the next morning. It’s a simple thing, but it’s made a big difference to me.

Organised habit: write lists Zoe at Home

More from this series:

Organized habits

For more ideas on how to capture your ideas before you forget them, see this post:

And for more inspiration to get organised, see my Organisation pinboard.


5 thoughts on “Organised habit #1: write lists

  1. I’m with you, Zoe. I have to write lists. Keeping them in my head is very dangerous! I find that once I write it down, I don’t necessarily need to look at the list again (although I do). The act of writing it down puts it in my mind. But if I don’t write it down, it usually flies away!

  2. Or I feel stressed out because all that stuff is swimming around in my head. Writing it down gets it out of my thoughts and I can focus on other things. I forgot to say that in my original comment. See – I’m scatter brained. I MUST write things down.

    • Hello Patty! For sure, once you write it down, it really helps you remember. But I sometimes wonder if all the crumpled pieces of paper make me look any more ‘organised’ 🙂

  3. Hey Zoe,
    I’m trying to get my life more organized and wanted to get a good and affordable organizer. I have been looking at the filofax organizers and are too expensive for my student budget are there any other awesome organizers i can get?

    • Hi Sarah,
      I like the Collins Debden organisers and refills. They have some leather and some non-leather and they are cheaper than Filofax. Also, I think kikki.K organisers are very pretty, in leather and fabric. They ship internationally from Australia. Keep an eye out for Filofax sales, too. Often they sell their binders for a good discount. Maybe you can sign up for their nerwsletters. And on the Philofaxy Adspot page there are lots of second-hand Filofaxes for sale.

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