This post is dedicated to my new friend and reader, Lauren, in South Carolina. She mentioned that she liked my post about time management but wanted to know how do I utilize Wunderlist and make it work for me. Great question. I’m going to give advice based on what’s been working for me. My disclaimer is that there are I’m sure many things Wunderlist is great for that I have not yet discovered (feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or through e-mail) but here’s what I have…
1. Make Good Categories
It may SEEM easier to leave everything in Inbox but as it turns out categories make you far more efficient. I share my lists with my friend Hillary and she shares hers wit me so I have my name before each of my categories. Here’s what I have:
Becca Living with Purpose
If you want a starting place: errands. When you’re ‘out and a about’ you can check here to make sure that you don’t forget one stop, place, or item. I go so far as to write what I need in the notes of the item. Example: Target (notes might read: toilet paper, baby shower greeting card, sweet n low). If I happen to be at Walmart for work I’ll see what I needed and if I can, grab it while I’m there. This will save you time and gas.
2. Planning Time
One of my favorite things about having Wunderlist on my phone is the ability to add things as they come to mind. You may have a great memory of all things but I find myself at the grocery store saying ‘what was I going to get?’ or at home trying to remember what needed done first or worst of all trying to remember what I was going to bring to work with me that morning. I recommend a planning time per week to get an overall list going for the week.
Let me expound on that. I use Sunday afternoons. For an hour on Sunday’s I get a plan for my week. A meal plan, my appointments (personal and professional), my reading schedule, my workout schedule, and my chores all get determined in this ‘meeting’. The best benefit to this is that I really think through the chores that need done at my condo and ta da – they get done! This week Tuesday was a particularly busy day for me so it got ‘take out the trash’ while Monday’s are typically an at home day so they get laundry or one of the more time consuming chores. This household list is amazing for making sure that I get to the things that would normally fall into the ‘getting around to it’ category like dusting my baseboards. Which I did, last week.
3. Make Time for People
This probably sounds like a silly thing to make a to do list for BUT what I will tell you is: relationships do not happen on accident. This list reminds me to send birthday cards, encouragement, a book I enjoyed, or an e-mail. It tells me who to call on which days to make sure I’m keep up with my family and friends from afar. And during that weekly planning meeting I get to make sure that I have a good balance for my week! Am I spending enough time with my mentors? Am I spending enough time with my friends? Am I spending enough time investing in the people the Lord has called me to lead/mentor/advise/or love in this season? If not, I get on my initiating!
4. Timers are Your Friend
This is going to sound over the top but use your oven timer. A couple times a week I schedule a ’20 minute pick up the house’. Every morning I schedule 20 minutes of educational reading (this falls under Becca’s Goals). This makes you efficient with your time and forbids you to get distracted and waste 2 hours doing what should have taken minutes. Stay on task til the buzzer goes and then let the rest wait. This is particularly helpful for those with short attention spans. If you’re supposed to be reading or picking up the house do NOT answer the phone, texts, check facebook, or get caught up doing things around the house that are not picking up.
5.Find Your Why
I get it, this is a lot. And being efficient is work. Trust me. I’m living this. So here’s the key: know your why. For me, thats easy: value people, constantly grow, and steward my home in a way that lets me have an open door policy. I want to be healthy and balanced, sure. And having workout, cooking, errand, and money saving goals (like couponing) is great. More than those: I want to keep my house so that I’m always prepared for people to come over (and they do!). I want to always be pushing myself to read, grow, learn, write, and do. Above all the rest I want to love people well and that takes being intentional.
6. Don’t Put Off ‘Til Tomorrow ….but if You Do
My advice is do each works day on that day. From time to time however this will be a challenge. SO, look back over your list at the end of each day and reassign anything that didn’t get done. I find this happens most often with work tasks (priorities shift throughout the day) or with chores. I give you a get out of jail free card. Life happens. BUT don’t let your plans get derailed. Reassign each tasks so that you go to bed with a clean slate and a new plan to accomplish the remaining tasks.
Ok, start with those. And e-mail me some feedback (or questions about your situation). I love to problem solve so keep the requests coming too (especially you, Lauren).