How to Use a To-Do List | 7 Tips for Using a To-Do List

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your to-do list? If your list is too long to be manageable, it can feel like a daunting task to start checking things off. I mean, as a wife, mom, and homemaker, you probably have a never-ending to-do list. Today I’m talking about how to use a to do list so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Be sure to download my free printable Master To-Do List at the bottom of the post!

I am a big believer in writing things down. I love to plan and make lists and I often say, if it’s not written down it doesn’t get done. This is partially because I have a rather bad memory (mom brain) and also because I’m very easily distracted.

So let’s talk about how to use a to do list. It’s one of my favorite planning tools!

Obviously, if you’re using a planner – especially one like my Purpose 31 Homemaking Planners that includes a daily chore list – you’re probably already implementing a to do list, and even if you haven’t been using a planner, you may already be using a written to do list – or even an app on your phone to help you remember all those things you need to get done on a given day.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Planning is smart and a to-do list can be super helpful. But how can you use a to-do list in the best possible way to get more done – and not feel stressed out at the end of the day?

3 Reasons Your To-Do List Doesn’t Work

There are three reasons why your To Do List may not be working for you.

  1. Too many items to check off.
  2. You forget to look at your to-do list.
  3. Unrealistic items to check off on any given day.

How to Best Use a To Do List

A to-do list can be your best friend. It will help you stay focused each day and get more done – if you do it right.

  1. Make a master to-do list and then choose different tasks from your master list to work on each day. There’s no reason to have a huge long list when you know you can’t complete that many things in one day!
  2. Before you add anything down on your to-do list, consider what you have going on that might make certain tasks harder. For instance, I babysit a couple of my grandkids all day long on a regular basis. Trying to load and stack hay is unrealistic if I have to take these two boys along with me.
  3. Don’t try to do too many things in one hour. Often, getting one thing done in one hour is all you can expect to do. Especially if you are a stay at home mom – and even more so if you homeschool.
  4. Remember, just like a planner only reduces your stress if you actually look at it and use it, a to-do list isn’t going to help you if don’t refer back to it during the day.
  5. Eat the Frog. If you get that one thing done that you really don’t want to do… the rest of your list will seem easy. Just get it out of the way. You’ll feel better.
  6. Combine your errands so that you’re saving time and money. Try to limit your trips to town to one day a week.
  7. Delegate chores. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to assign your kids chores on your to-do list. You don’t have to do it all to be an amazing mom. And sometimes it okay to ask your husband, too!

Of course, we all have days when things just don’t go as planned – and that’s okay. Life doesn’t have to always go as planned to still be spectacular. Believe me, I have more than my fair share of those days! Go ahead and embrace the season you are in. Be joyful in this moment.

Some of us DO work more efficiently than others. Creative types like me need space to breathe in between to do’s. I often visit the Prudent Homemaker’s blog and she amazes me!

Really though, simplifying your life will ultimately mean simplifying your to-do list. And ultimately, life shouldn’t be about doing more. Your life should be about creating rich and meaningful relationships and carving out a space in this world that will help nurture those relationships at home.

As I worked to overcome my burnout, I’ve spent more time focusing on laughter, good food, hanging out with my kids, and less time on having a perfect house and a superwoman to-do list. In fact, my to-do list is often on the small side.

And you know what? I’m enjoying my life more.

Action Steps to Take Today

  1. Always pray as you make plans. It’s always a good idea to pray first!! Ask God to help you make the best of your to-do list.
  2. Determine if your to-do list is making your life easier or making you feel defeated at the end of the day.
  3. Make a master to-do list to work off of and a simpler to-do list to work from each day.
  4. Download my free printable Master To-Do List below, if desired.
  5. Remember: You are the master of your to-do list. It’s not the master of you!!

The Simplified Homemaking Planner

Here’s sneak peek inside my Purpose 31 Simplified Homemaker Planner:

Our culture has conditioned people to value less the domestic arts than productivity outside the home.

And while people love to criticize women who enjoy homemaking, who doesn’t love to come home to the smell of fresh-baked bread or a tidy house. Who doesn’t love to open their drawers to find clean socks and underwear on a daily basis?

If you want to manage your home well and believe that homemaking matters, The Purpose 31 Simplified Homemaking Planner is the perfect solution to manage your home and family life. 

The beauty of this weekly planner is that each week is undated so that you can start using it at any time during the year! Each month has five weekly homemaking layouts because some months have four weeks and some months have five weeks. Use the pages you need. 

Plus, since it’s a printable download, it’s a one time purchase, ultimately saving you money! This Undated Weekly planner keeps your week running smoothly.

Free Printable To-Do List

How to Download

  1. Just fill out the form below and you’ll receive an email giving you instant access to my free printable Master To Do List.
  2. If you are already a subscriber, filling out the form won’t affect your subscription, but you will receive the link to download!

Why should I subscribe?

  • exclusive coupons and sales to my shop
  • updates, challenges, freebies, and exclusive offers
  • instant access to subscriber exclusive printables

Do you need to simplify your To Do List? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. I love to-do lists. Sometimes I even write completed tasks on the list just so I can cross them off. :) Your "eat the frog" point is perfect and it gave me a good chuckle. Thanks for this post!
  2. Your planner looks great! Is the weekly planning sheet that lists daily chores, etc...customizeable so I can put in my own list? I'm an empty nester now, and I have more time than I've had in many years! But without my usual routine that I had when my kids were home, I've found myself not getting as much accomplished as I'd like. I'm hoping to create a new rountine/schedule. Thanks!

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