[Farm Wife Friday] Making Lists

Are you a list maker? Do you stick to the list or just write things down and walk away? Or are you too busy to even take the time to write things down?

House Check List

My Weekly Checklist for household chores. I’ve purposely left off Friday to give me an extra day to add anything that didn’t get accomplished during the week.

Last night, a friend of mine told me that she was too busy to take the time to write things down, but she also said that it was a bad habit because then everything kept swirling around in her head.

I like making lists. It gives me a sense of control. Sometimes it’s overwhelming when I see all the things that must be done written in black and white, but it’s also a very good reality check for me. “Seriously, Sheri, do you really think it’s absolutely imperative that you get all of these things done today?”

Then I do the little self talk about quality of life and “is it healthy to be rushing around like this all the time?” Then I slap myself, re-evaluate and choose the most important.

Yes, I’ll admit it: I’ve always been a little of an overachiever. Procrastination has never been a weakness for me. Trying to do everything at once? Well, that’s a different story!

But recently, I’ve started making lists for my week. It’s seems to work better for me, rather than for each day. Usually on Friday before the following week, I’ll write down a list of things that I’d like to accomplish the following week. Making sure that I also check my calendar for any events that are happening on particular days. I also try to do my menu planning on Fridays for the following week. It’s amazing how much this helps too.

Maybe we could talk more about menu planning and meals next time?

I’m curious, do you keep a list? Do you do like I do, and write things down, just so you can cross them off? Ha! Yes, I know, but admit it, some of you do this too!

getting things doneI’m still working my way through Getting Things Done by David Allen. One of the things that I have gleaned from this book so far is the idea of lists based on context.

For instance, my lists now consist of:

Home – actions that need to be taken in the home (this one tends to be quite long)

Phone – any phone calls that I need to make

Computer – anything that needs to be done online or at the desk

Errands – anything that needs to be done in town, including post office, library, groceries etc

Discuss – things I need to talk to someone about. These are in person discussions. Things I want to remember to talk to Hubby or perhaps a friend or employee about. This is also where I list things that I need to teach or train someone.

About 3 weeks ago, my cell phone (read old, ancient 7 yr old flip phone) went kaput. As in it no longer received calls. File_000Texting was nominal at best and in this day and age, it seems everyone wants to communicated in text. I’m still trying to figure that one out! Ha! So I went in to see if I was up for an upgrade. “You were due for an upgrade 6 years ago!” Oh, well, okay then. So I was upgraded. I feel like I’ve gone from the shack to a mansion. I got an iPhone. Wow! It’s definitely more than a phone.

The reason I’m telling you this, is to say that my lists are now made on my phone. I’ve been using Evernote. Love it. It’s easy to use and my To-Do list is almost always with me. Every week, I delete things that were accomplished and add anything else in the appropriate notebook. I also like the fact that I can access my list on the computer as well. It’s just helps to keep me focused.

For my day to day house keeping things, I keep my list on good old fashioned paper. 🙂

But I’m curious, where do you keep your lists? Last blog post, one of you mentioned that you keep your list on a white board. I love that idea too. I just don’t have wall space (too many windows, not really, I love them!) to hang a big white board in any place that is realistically accessible for every day use.

Okay, seriously, ladies, I want to hear from you!! There is so much we can learn from each other!

Comment below and let’s talk!

Happy Friday!

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About Sheri Salatin

Sheri is married to Daniel Salatin. She is the marketing director at Polyface Farm and stay-at-home mom of three children. Sheri is passionate about clean food and is enjoying working the land along side her husband. When not farming, Sheri can be found reading, writing, sewing, baking and serving in her church family.
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12 Responses to [Farm Wife Friday] Making Lists

  1. The problem I have is every evening I make my list for the next day. Get up in the morning and check my list. Start out ok and then that list becomes “by Felicia”. Drives me crazy!!

    • I’m not certain what you mean “by Felicia”, but one of the reasons I went to a weekly list rather than a daily list was because daily was too stressful.

  2. Adele says:

    Good old diary here!
    Need to remember to check it every morning though because when I get distracted with breakfast all my plans are out the door and I miss the days priorities.

  3. Joey Hatley says:

    I’m still working on getting a good list method in place for home, but at work I just transitioned to a daily/weekly list that I love. It has a spot for each day of the week, one for messages, and one for future items. In this area, I jot down things that I need to do but that aren’t emergent and I know I won’t have time for this week. I keep the list on a clipboard at my desk, and I love it. If something doesn’t get done on Monday, I cross it off and move it to Tuesday!

  4. For the past several weeks, I’ve been using weekly lists, too. They are much less stressful than daily lists. I’m still using a spiral bound notebook for my lists. I keep it open on the kitchen counter to keep myself on track. By the end of each week, the page is filled with notes on the page edges, phone numbers, and crossed off jobs. They almost become like a journal entree, and I enjoy looking back over previous weeks’ pages to remind myself I am going forward, getting stuff done.

  5. Cindy Cotter says:

    I’m using Things right now, and I like it. I find the underlying logic easier than Evernote, but it isn’t as simple to snatch things from the web and tuck them in your list, and it’s also not free. The thing I like about computerized to do lists is that I can schedule things to pop up when needed and then put them out of my mind. I have a whole slew of repeating reminders… things I do once a year or four times a year, or the third Tuesday of every month. My great goal is to eliminate that swirling around in the head syndrome your friend mentioned.

  6. Rachel says:

    I did the same thing on Evernote and LOVED it! Until one day when Evernote crashed! Locked up and erased itself. I lost my meticulous Christmas gift list and reading list and grocery list . . . Now I am back to paper! Once bitten, twice shy, baby!

  7. I have also found that weekly (rather than daily) lists work better for the flow of the life of a farmer/mommy. I suppose the reason is because there are many tasks and events that can’t possibly be foreseen, and yet you have to make time for them, so doing a daily list and then failing at it is frustrating and stressful. Right now I go super old-fashioned and write a big long list on the Monday of my full-size notebook planner. I cross them off as I go, selecting the highest priority and balancing it with my other daily tasks. Hopefully by the end of the week, all the items are done, or else they get transferred to the next week if they’re still relevant. Problem is that if I happen to not have my planner with me, I don’t know what I am supposed to be doing. I’m also working through GTD (it’s a bit of a heavy read!) and trying to implement Evernote. I like the idea of grouping things by where/how it will get done, because that’s exactly how my brain works. “I need to talk to hubby about vacation plans and sausage seasonings.” Not related, but could happen when hubs and I are sitting down for 5 minutes together. Sounds like we have a lot in common! 🙂

  8. Rebekah says:

    I am a list person. But I have so many ways that I create my lists. Sometimes my lists appear while I’m writing in my journal. I really like that because then I can go back and see everything that was going on at that time in my life. Sometimes I use a white piece of paper for my list. Sometimes in it on the dry erase board. I guess it all depends on how much reminding I need to get the tasks done. And where I am when I start to create my list. I oftentimes have weekly lists. Lots of times I have daily lists. Sometimes cyclists are just for the next three days. They are always separated into categories like you mentioned. I have two kids, aged 18 months and 3 years. They have taught me that while routine is important, even more important is the ability to be flexible with my plans and how I do things. But always, always, there is a list. It helps me sleep at night.

  9. Bea says:

    At the beginning of the year I write a list of aims for the year and then I put them into different months giving me a monthly to do list.

    Then I have a daily diary where I fill in what I’m trying to get done for the day as well as all the repeat jobs like filing accounts and all the little jobs that come up.

    I have a separate list for town which I list into different shop headings so I can plan my route round shops and focus once I’m in there.

    I try to do a meal plan every week before I go shopping and write reminders to myself in my diary to get things out of the freezer or soak beans.

    It’s endless but I have to write it all down or I can’t keep control of it all. I try to appraise what is realistic and move stuff forward if I can’t do it today but I often get swirling head syndrome just looking at it! I often get trapped thinking about the list when I should be doing something on it instead! I have been trying to practise mindfulness meditation (10mins twice a day) which really helps.

    For the rest of the family (husband, baby and two workaway volunteers) I have just started doing a daily sheet of all the jobs for the day, especially household chores. Otherwise I end up doing it all at the end of the day and this really burns me out!

    Hardest of all is prioritising time for myself to rest or take exercise but I am making a redoubled effort to do this after being ill a couple of times.
    Thanks for the great post Sheri! It is inspiring to hear how other people cope with managing their own time, especially when you combine family and business in your home and have to impose your own schedule. Sometimes I wonder ‘Does anyone else have 10 lists on the go at once?’ How does Sheri Salatin manage with 3 kids and such big farm projects on?! We have been farming full time for nearly one year.

  10. Susan says:

    I am a list maniac myself. Wondered where your weekly home checklist was from…it’s just what I’ve been looking for to keep on track with home chores.

  11. Paige says:

    I couldn’t live without my lists! I keep lists on my computer of long-term and short-term goals in different areas of my life. I use those (along with my assignments, work schedules, and things that need to be done around the house) to make a long list for the day/week of things I need to accomplish that I keep in my planner. For years I’ve written down a daily game plan on a post-it note and kept it in my pocket throughout the day too. That helped so much when my mom first got sick and I was trying to learn how to manage the household. Kept me from going crazy.

    I like the idea of using Evernote to keep up with computerized lists! I’ve tried several “to-do list” apps for iPhone, but I find I’ll just forget they’re there and not look at them.

    Hope you are doing well, Mrs. Sheri! You are a total inspiration.