Tip for Today – on TO DO lists


The countdown has started.

It is the last week before the school’s summer break and two weeks before we take off for our summer holiday.

There are a lot of things on my TO DO list!

I usually keep tabs on my to do items in my  workplace’s window.

But I have neglected them for a while… I often do…

Untill I realize that the clock is ticking..and what is not done by D-day, will remain un-done, for at least 2 months.

Sometimes you need to take your usual format of your to-do list and just throw it around in a different format to kick-start your actions again and get your “you-know-what” in gear !!!

So, here is my tip for today of what I do on a day like today when I want to make sure I don’t go into a panic and try to do EVERYTHING in one go or leave TOO many things too late!

What works for me when it is crunch time and I don’t have time to get my lists on a fancy computer program, with priority rankings and deadline dates etc…. I simply re-engineer my lists temporarily. I call it TIME-OUT for TO-DO’s.


I make my list on the computer – by simply typing as fast as I can as and when they pop up into my head …. but instead of then editing them there and putting them on calendar and having reminders and all the other fancies that will take another day to orchestrate…..I take any big, flat book and put big post-it notes in calendar format – each sticky paper representing a DAY.

While I keep an eye on my calendar showing my  “appointments”, I assign the items to the days of the 2 weeks I have left, more or less according to my availability on certain days. Just roughly.

The calendar format of the sticky notes as if they were “days’ give you the immediate feel of what is achievable in one day (you simply can’t have 5 sticky notes for one day ! ). Once that sticky gets a little crowded…better find another day for that !

SO, just take the to-do list and plot a short version of the items on the sticky note “days” so that the bulk list gets sorted and organized in a fast, quick way. It spreads out the tasks and automatically assigns priority as you shove them into days. It is magic when you see your 2 page list dissolves into little do-able daily chunks.

Suddenly the list is not so overwhelming…. and things that might have been bottom of the list and forgotten…automatically moves forward according to the day-order where it will be attended to earlier.

And then I keep one sticky note “off the book” – for things that needs to be done straight away as and when I will get off my chair… things that I should really do ASAP  and should not really have sit on a list.  Sort of  – DO before you get busy with other things again… .

..yes, almost like this !

Now, there is no REAL sense of achievement if you simply shuffle-around lists. You have to at least get some things DONE while you are at it !

So what I do during this TO DO LIST marathon is that I sit next to my computer and anything that simply needs a mail or phone call, gets done straight away…. An item  ONLY gets from my initial list onto a sticky, if it can not be done from the seat where I am sitting right that moment.

Nothing fancy – but it works for me.

It organizes your mind and spread the load.

Only thing left is to grab my sticky note every morning from the book and start putting it into action.

Hope it made sense and hope it helps you  if you also feel a little inundated with your way -too-long year-end list for the little time left!



1 Response to Tip for Today – on TO DO lists

  • Yvonne says:

    Hi Ilze!
    You are so organized! It seems I can learn a lot from you! I just had a quick look through your blog (but only on the phone so I did not comment much although I could!). I will come back to that later so you have something to read in South Africa!
    I will do this thing with the sticky notes today! Sooo helpful!

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