I love making lists. Without lists I would never know what to do next. Lists help me to take action and get stuff done without having to think about it much.
If you’re a list maker like me and want some ideas or printables to get your life organized then this post is for you.
The reason why I love lists is that it can simplify your tasks and make it a routine. Lists systemize and can even possibly automate repetitive tasks. I bet if you took the time to braindump and map out everything that you do each week there will be a bunch of repetitive tasks in that list. A lot of the tasks that you probably always do a little bit differently each and every time.
To avoid wasting time and energy doing unnecessary things over and over, try to free up your time by systemizing your tasks you do all the time. Build processes or workflows for these tasks. List out all the details and steps. Streamline it, chop out the things that are inefficient or unnecessary and find ways to automate or delegate tasks to help you save time.
Aside from the typical to-do list and ones you probably already use I wanted to share with you some of my favorite lists for getting organized.
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Here are the lists to make to organize your life:
- Process lists
- Cleaning lists
- Weekly/Monthly reviews lists
- Routines lists
- Schedule/Time block lists
- Packing lists
- List of Journaling Prompts
- Distraction list
- Implementation intentions list
- Meal plans/Go-to meals
- Shopping list
- Goals list
1. Process Lists
If there is something you do repetitively I highly suggest creating a list for doing it step-by-step. Most likely you will find that you can eliminate steps, automate some of the steps, or even delegate some of it to save yourself some time. Having a list like this will help to make sure that you are always doing a task or project that correct way, not missing anything important, and being efficient by streamlining it. Some examples of my process lists include writing a blog post and making youtube videos.
Here’s an example of my blog post workflow:
- Finish Writing
- Create Content Upgrade?
- Create Images
- Format in WordPress
- Create Download Link Buttons
- Set Featured Image
- Set Category
- SEO – Title & Description
- YoastSEO – Score Good
- Imaage Alt Texts Set
- Proof Read & Schedule
2. Cleaning Lists
If you’re like me and you do the absolute bare minimum when cleaning then having a checklist of what to clean is a must. After years I wonder why my house is a mess, and it’s because I haven’t been properly cleaning the areas of my house. So now I have a certain list for each specific area of my house and step-by-step instructions on what to clean.
I even included a free printable for you (pdf download links are at the bottom of the post)! If you would like to add rooms, or change the tasks just use the template from Canva and edit it. You can even change the colors if you want to color code it! Use the link below. I printed mine out on 4×6 index cards and laminated them. I placed all the cards on our command center wall and whenever I need to clean a certain zone I would just pull out that card and follow the steps.
3. Weekly/Monthly Planning Reviews Lists
To set yourself up for success you need to schedule in time to review your progress, track your results and learn from them each week and month. You can’t see your progress and plan for your future if you don’t know how you are doing. You need to have a system to set yourself up for success each and every week.
I follow David Allen’s GTD Weekly Review lists, he tells you step-by-step what you need to check in order to plan and review your weeks efficiently without missing a thing! Here is the basic GTD review list, but of course you should modify it to better suit your life and your tools.
Weekly Review List
COLLECT LOOSE PAPERS AND MATERIALS
GET “IN” TO ZERO.
EMPTY YOUR HEAD
REVIEW NEXT ACTIONS LISTS
REVIEW PREVIOUS CALENDAR DATA
REVIEW UPCOMING CALENDAR
REVIEW WAITING FOR LIST
REVIEW PROJECT (AND LARGER OUTCOME) LISTS
REVIEW ANY RELEVANT CHECKLISTS
REVIEW SOMEDAY/MAYBE LIST
BE CREATIVE & COURAGEOUS
Monthly Review List
For the monthly review list I follow one from The Olden Chapters here. It’s an awesome GTD modified list and she even has a free printable! I really like how she split it up into monthly, quarterly and weekly planning. Also how she incorporated routines into it!
4. Routines Lists
Don’t you hate it when you wake up early but you have no clue how to use that time? Or it’s the end of the day and you can’t sleep because so much is still so much you want to do, or there’s just too much going on in your mind? Well this is where a good routines list comes in handy.
I have all kinds of routines, one for my morning routine, one for the kids’ morning routines, an after dinner routine, and a bedtime routine. I probably could join the after dinner + bedtime routines together but it looked so overwhelming so breaking it up made it seem more manageable.
I printed these routine lists and placed them on our mirrors in our bathrooms. Now the kids always have a reminder of washing their faces and combing their hair before going to school!
Here is my after dinner routine:
- Wash Dishes/Shine Sink 10m
- Clean Off A Hotspot 5m
- Pack Snacks For Tomorrow 10m
- Prepare Coffee 5m
- Lay Out Tomorrow’s Clothes 1m
- Prepare Coffee 5m
- Lay Out Tomorrow’s Clothes 5m
- Check Calendar And Forecast 10m
- Write Daily Reflections In Journal 5m
- Plan tomorrow 5m
And this is our bedtime routine:
- Give Kids A Bath 20m
- Read Books To Kids 10mPut Kids To Sleep 15m
- Take A Bath Or Shower/brush Teeth And Floss 20m
- Get Dressed In Pajamas 5m
- Cuddle With Paul/TV 1h
- Get Dressed in Pajamas 5m
- Drink water 1m
- Go To Room And Charge iPhone 1m
- Read 15m
- Turn On Alarm And Go To Sleep 1m
Morning Checklist by Wendaful
5. Schedule/Time Block Lists
One of the main reasons I always procrastinate was because I didn’t know what to do when. Having clarity and a clear plan of action will help you to avoid that. You can set days to work on specific items so you always know what to do on what day. For me to start working out I had to create a workout schedule and the easiest way to do that was by picking areas of my body I wanted to work on for each day of the week. At first I was doing only 3 days a week, but I felt it was easier to skip and not make it habit so now I always make sure I do it 5 times a week to make it a habit.
I also like having a time incremented ideal schedule, I explain more abotu creating one in this video here. But I like seeing what I should be doing or working on at certain times of the day. Time blocking my day has increased my productivity by so much, and is the only way I can set boundaries for myself so I am balancing my professional and personal lives.
Another schedule I like to make is for cleaning. Depending on your life you may have only one day a week where you clean everything. Or you might be like me and want to do certain zones each day of the week. You can schedule time
You can also have a schedule for your work categories (for me there’s admin work, social media, content creation, design work, & projects), activities for the kids (book day, painting day, sensory play day, alphabet day, numbers day, etc).
6. Packing Lists
A packing list is a must to ensure you aren’t forgetting a thing. I think it’s even more important to have a packing list before you leave your destination. For example, if you’re leaving your hotel, have a list of the things you’d most likely forget (phone chargers or camera chargers still plugged into the wall, shaver or anything else you may have forgot in the shower, shoes in the closet, etc). My packing list is separated into different categories and I also have a different packing list for camping trips. Whenever I go on a trip I just copy that list and check it off!
7. List of Journaling Prompts
If you’re anything like me, journaling doesn’t come easy. When I see a blank journal I never know what to write in it. I like to have a list of morning & evening journaling prompts to help me start and end my day. My morning prompts include things such as “What is the one thing I need to focus on today?” and my evening prompts include things such as “What did I get done today?”, “What made me smile today?”, “How did I spend my time today? or “What was the biggest time waster and how can I avoid it tomorrow?”. You can find journaling prompts online and use the ones that relate best to you and use that list to journal your thoughts.
8. Distractions Lists
The worst thing that can happen to your productivity
9. Implementation Intentions List
Implementation Intentions are if-then statements that you plan ahead of time to make sure you set yourself up for success. Here are some examples:
- If I open my laptop for the first time in the morning, then I immediately start working on my most important task without checking email or Facebook, or anything else.
- If I catch myself watching TV, then I turn it off and start reading a book instead.
- If I feel like hitting snooze in the morning, then I will immediately get out of bed.
- If it’s 5:00 pm, then I immediately start cooking dinner (even if I don’t feel like it).
- If it’s 7:30 pm, then I immediately start our bedtime routine by first sending the kids to take a bath
- If I get up in the morning, then I immediately drink a glass of water to wake myself up and start my day
To read more about this go here: https://www.njlifehacks.com/implementation-intentions/
10. Meal Plan or Go-To Meals Lists
If you never know what to cook then meal planning or having a list of go-to meals would help a lot. You can decide on what to eat beforehand and just follow it each day. I was tired of eating the same things each week and wanted to incorporate more veggies in our meals. I recently discovered a free app called Mealime which lets me choose the meals that appeal to me and it creates a shopping list for me using those meals! I usually do 12 meals to cover 2 weeks since we like to shop every 2 weeks. I then write our meals on this 2 week meal planner and just follow the recipe on my phone while I cook (they have a cool option where you can hover your hand over the phone so you don’t even have to touch your phone!).
11. Shopping Lists
There is nothing worse than forgetting what you needed to buy. Ever go to the store, not have a list, buy a bunch of things, go home just to find out that the thing you needed the most you forgot, again? Same here, until I started using a shopping list! I run errands about once or twice a week. I keep a running shopping list so whenever there is something I need i write it down immediately in my list.
I mainly use my shopping list for things that I would normally forget. Imy List is categorized by store. And I have it on my phone so that I don’t gorget it at home. ( since I always have my phone on me)
12. Goals Lists
And finally, a list of my goals! You can’t know what you’re working toward or working for if you don’t have goals. Think of the things you would like to accomplish in the next month, 3 months, year and just have a list where you can write it all down in. Keep it visible so you are always reminded.
Download the PDF files to print as-is here:
The app I use to store most of my lists in is called Things 3. It is a paid for