This month, I want to introduce a small habit I found to be one of the most helpful in staying organized: making lists. This habit is flexible, and you can do it in any way that works for you. Sticky notes, planners, note pads – if you start making lists, then you are on your way to a more organized life.
If list-making doesn’t come naturally to you, start with these three:
List 1: A plan for the day
I like to write a quick list every night with the following day in mind. Be sure to leave space for things that might come up and be flexible; pencils are your friend.
List 2: A master to-do list
Leave plenty of space for this list since you’ll add to it when additional tasks pop into your head. Start by lining the paper into three categories: “Immediate,” “Later,” and “Hopes and Dreams.” Next, do a “brain dump” – write everything down that needs to be done in the immediate future under “Immediate,” anything that needs to be done sometime this year under “Later,” and anything you would love to do but isn’t necessary under “Hopes and Dreams.”
I like to use an entirely separate notebook for this list. You can even get a divided notebook and designate the categories under different tabs.
List 3: Household needs
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it can be helpful to keep it in a smaller notebook so it can easily fit in a bag or purse. I also like to have one on the fridge so my family can add to it, as necessary.
Once you start making lists (and checking them off), you will find you forget fewer tasks and home maintenance becomes less tedious (or less terrifying). Plus, the rush of endorphins you get from making progress and crossing off those tasks is pretty awesome.
Johnna Masterson is the owner of Inspired and Organized and a Central Park resident.