How to Make Friends with Your ToDo Lists

So many people complain about never having enough time in the day to get all their stuff done. I’m guilty of whining, too. “My todo list keeps giving birth to todos!” Like Gremlins getting wet with a drop of water, the more you check them off, the more they multiply. If only our todos were as cute and cuddly as Gizmo!

I’ve been reading three books that are messing with my head and how I manage my todos, my stuff, and my time. My biggest takeaway as I read them simultaneously is: My todo list can be my friend, if I want it to be.

Here’s how these three books have been helping me make friends with my todo lists:

  1. I’m accepting the fact that tasks are never going to go away. When life is busy and even when it’s not, there’s always something that will need to get done. Always. Whether it’s meeting a deadline for a writing assignment or a website relaunch, or taking care of a newborn, or cleaning out the spare room that now houses your daughter’s old stuff, there will always be something screaming for your attention. It’s a fact of life.
  2. I pick a time of day to process my “stuff” with a system. Whether you’re a digital fan like me who uses tools like OmniFocus 2, or an old-fashioned pen and paper kinda gal, having a system to process your tasks is crucial. If you don’t, your todos are going to keep growing like weeds or your collection of hair care products and makeup in your bathroom. You need to put them in their place and run them, not the other way around.
  3. I block off a chunk of time on the weekdays to do my best work and not just process my todos or my system. My favorite time of day, even before I read Ms. Vanderkam’s book, is in the morning. (And no, it’s not because I hosted a morning show for five years. That was torture.) I started waking early on my own when I hit my mid-forties. I’m up between 5:30 and 6:00 every morning before my alarm goes off. (Older people need less sleep. Yes, I said “older.”) I use this time to write for Savvee before going to the day job, or write for the day job in the quiet of my house. I go to Yoga once a week at 5:30 a.m. and other days I do a 7 minute workout to get my muscles moving.
  4. I schedule an actual time to process my “stuff.” For me, it’s after I’ve done my important task for the day, i.e. writing, content creation. Monday mornings at our office are blocked off for the entire staff to do 9time. This time is meant for planning the week and preparing for the week’s meetings.
  5. I use Timeful to block off times in the day to work on specific tasks. This system shows me how little time I actually have in a day! It’s been a grim awakening to realize I can’t check off everything I want to check off, so I don’t. Seeing things intentionally scheduled keeps me from wasting time. Goodbye, multitasking.
  6. I’m being intentional about carving time for working on my goals. I avoid work-work on Saturday mornings when I’m not at the part-time retail job and use the time to blog for myself or learn something on one of the many Udemy courses I’ve purchased.

Whatever cannot be done in a day can be put on my calendar for another day. The list is not going to go away. Better to live with it on my terms than be at its mercy.

Three Books for Rethinking Your Time and Stuff

I have my Kindle to blame for my Multiple Simultaneous Book Reading Syndrome. It’s hard to not buy eBooks when they’re less than $10 a pop! Sometimes they’re less than $5! I end up buying two to three per month. I buy more when the $1.99 page on Amazon’s Kindle Bookstore has lots of good stuff.

I wasn’t looking for books to tell me how to rethink my time and my stuff, but somehow I coincidentally bought three that kinda turned into a theme. Maybe on some level in my psyche, I’ve been craving for order and clarity. Hmmmm.

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Memorial Day 2015

My favorite place in Manila is the Manila American Cemetery. When I was a girl surrounded by the noise and pollution of the city, it reminded me of home. It was the only place I felt truly connected to my roots in the U.S. (Not counting Clark Air Base when it was still around.)

My mom and I would go to the cemetery with a friend visiting from out of the country, or we’d simply visit on a random day. The cemetery is run like a U.S. facility, orderly and pristine. It’s out of place in the middle of busy, dirty Manila. Yet it’s there. All 152 acres with row upon row of white crosses and Stars of David, silent.

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Hello Apple Watch Sport

The Day I Met My Apple Watch Sport

I’m not the type of geek that wakes up at 2 a.m. Central (I live in Nashville.) to pre-order an Apple product. My boss is. I’m more of a wake-me-up-after-the-hype-dies-down kinda gal. I honestly don’t see the point in being first in line for a product that will either be buggy or outdated within a year.

Apple announced the Apple Watch in September 2014 and was vague about pre-order times. They were pegged at anywhere during “Early 2015” and “Coming Spring.”

“Early” happened on April 10. “Available” was never a promise, so the world settled on pre-ordering on April 10 and the scheduled “Preview” on April 24. With their other products, Apple had launch days that let you walk into a store to get a device after waiting overnight, sometimes a week or more BEFORE the actual day. Everyone who pre-ordered theirs waited by their doors on launch day for the delivery person, which was the surest way to get something. Order early, get it on launch day.

I was on the fence about getting an Apple Watch. I thought it was a cool idea, but bristled at the thought of being constantly on a watch the way I am with my phone.

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