Feb 17

I used to be good at this . . . .

DSCF4059A long time ago, there was The List. Every day there was The List. And it was amazing how much I was able to accomplish when I took time to create The List, and then actually look at The List throughout the day. But somehow I got lost along the pathway of Life, and I lost The List. I was rather sad for a while, but eventually I kind of forgot about The List and started trying to keep all that stuff in my head. Well, that just made me crazy!

But for some reason I continued to wander around, day after day, with all of that Stuff just bouncing around in my brain. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at keeping lots of lists going on in my head, but eventually it was just way too much Stuff to keep inside one brain. Even one like mine that seems to be able to focus on about a million things at once. One friend suggested that I might have adult ADHD . . . . another friend said, “No, you are just OCD.” Great. I knew there was something wrong with me. WAIT!

There’s nothing actually wrong with me or my brain, that’s just the way God made me. That’s when I started revisiting the idea of The List. Where to start? No clue, because I had lost The List and didn’t know where to find it. But I’m also pretty good at making up new Stuff, so I decided to create a New List. So, working on ideas from the past and a few new ideas from my friend and business coach, Christie Browning at ReVision for Women, I decided to take one baby step in the right direction.

Now, all of this is not to say that I haven’t been productive. I have. We are currently in the process of starting and building a new (old) business with several branches (or subsidiaries, or whatever you call them!), all reviving ideas and projects that I have actually been working on for over 10 years. So they really aren’t “new” at all, but the idea and activity of turning these projects into a real, full-time business has been, and continues to be, a HUGE task.

I guess I was just tired of living in “Brain Overload,” so today it is all coming out of my head and onto a piece of paper . . . . but if I don’t want to lose that piece of paper, along with the New List, I realized I had better figure out a strategy. Speaking of “strategy,” that is exactly what we were talking about last night in my Growth Venture class on business growth and management last night. But I digress.

I used to have a lovely Day Timer that I used all the time. It was just the right size that I could pop it into my tote bag and take it with me wherever I went. Lately I’ve tried using a spiral bound calendar book, but I accidentally left it at the office the other day when I was at a business meeting, so that might not be such a great idea. Losing more than my mind some days!

DSCF4058To start with (and I’m sure this is not the final product), I decided to take Christie’s suggestion and just start with a regular ol’ spiral bound notebook. I know, it is the same size as the calendar that I couldn’t keep track of, so I’ll adjust as I go along – and try not to lose this one. She said that she draws lines on each page and divides it up into various categories that address her schedule.

In class last night one of the bits of advice that really stood out to me was when the instructor told us that, in the Big Picture of building a business, you need to start with two ideas in mind:

1. Where do you want to be 20 – 30 years from now?

2. What do you need to do in the next 90 days to move closer to that goal?

I also read an article the other day about how important it is to take 30 minutes every day and write down the 10 things that you need to try to accomplish in a day . . . . which is what I used to do, and actually writing them down and getting them out of my head makes for a much more pleasant day! So, combining all of those ideas, for a starting point, here’s what I came up with:

* Regular ol’ spiral bound notebook (it was left over from one of my girls who had already used it for something once upon a time)

* Divide the pages up into categories, days, Every Day, This Week, and This Month

* Write weekly appointments, but leave room for the 10 Things that I need to focus on each day

Sounds simple, so we’ll see how it goes. One of my 10 Things for today was to write this blog post. Off I go to cross that off my New List! If you are wandering around like I was, let’s give this a try and see if we can’t get organized in this New Year with a New List. Would love to hear what you do to stay organized and productive.

Morning Planning

If you want to read the article on The Morning Ritual, you can find it HERE on the How to Be Self-Employed website.





  1. Michele

    I have found that the busier I am the more I need lists! It definitely helps with cognitive overload. I keep spiral notebooks also, and a spiral calendar and electronic things on my IPAd and phone. I love beautiful papers and pens, so sometimes that inspires me to write my notes and then not lose them! It is a way for my to be more accountable. I also find that when I write down what is in my head it clears my mind so that I can sleep better.

  2. Yvonne

    I know for me even 10 items is too much!!! I find I need to focus on ONE goal and at least 5 top priority things that I need to do relating to that specific goal! I thought I was good at multi-tasking but realize I am NOT good at it; however, I blossom when I focus on ONE task at a time and then move on to the next. I’ve always written things down because I learned long time ago, too much information in my head makes me feel too overwhelmed and out of control and causes me to procrastinate more!!!

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