Tag Archives: getting shit done

Less Tormenting To-Dos

I am constantly making to-do lists. If not physical, they are always in my head. And mostly I have to create a physical list just to get some reprieve from the mental reminders. It’s on the list, Aarika. Now you can stop obsessing. You won’t forget because it’s now written down.

Fast Company to do listsWork – eNewsletter, print ads, digital ads, photo shoot, website maintenance, press release, SEO report, client call, media buys, invoices, insurance

Personal – Plan gatherings with family and friends, grocery store, gym, pay bills, send mail, read, study for new venture, organize iPhoto library

Cleaning – Sweep, mop, dust, dishes, laundry, bathrooms, make beds, touch up paint

Outdoors – Mow, weed-eat, hoe garden, water, trim shrubs and trees, pressure wash and waterproof back deck

This is my life of lists. I think all the time, analyzing, worrying. I have wakeful, vivid dreams every night. Sometimes I wish I could turn my brain off. But then I realize that this strong sense of aspiration and time management is what makes me the productive person I am.

I was all too relieved to read a recent Fast Company article, as provided to me by a LinkedIn Pulse email, titled “5 Unexpected Ways to Get More Done.” (You know I jumped on that one eagerly. See notes above about my tendencies.) The feature proposed ways to work smarter, not harder. And this made me feel better about my lists, knowing that I’m getting a lot right, per this author.

Here’s a synopsis…

5 Unexpected Ways to Get More Done

1. Limit your to-do list

  • List fewer items that you can actually get done
  • Choose 3 Most Important Tasks as priorities
  • Plan the night before
  • Focus on the present day

2. Measure your results, not your time

  • Keep in mind that more hours does not equal more done
  • Recognize what you accomplished, not what you didn’t get done
  • Create small steps to cross off list (parts of a whole task)

3. Build “getting ready to work” routines

  • Avoid procrastination because of uncertainty, being overwhelmed
  • Use a routine to tell your brain and body it’s time to work (coffee, email, music, lighting)

4. Track what you’re wasting time on

  • Know where your time suck is before trying to solve the problem (picking outfit, browsing web, social media)
  • Make alterations in activities (cut, limit, prepare in advance)

5. Build habits to help you stop working

  • Quit while you’re ahead, clear starting place for next day
  • Set firm cut-off time,
  • Plan something after work, a must-do or fun outing
  • Enstate a wind-down routine (journaling, time tracking, cleaning desk)


Spring & My Aching Back

I never worked so hard in my life until I became a homeowner. I’ve lived on my own many occasions and in actual houses – not just apartments – where I was required to handle maintenance. I’ve always been self-motivated to do chores, perhaps passed on from my dad, who spent many a Saturday anally bustling around the house dusting end tables and scrubbing floors. (As a kid I was frustrated that my dad would not chill out and watch a movie with me instead, but now I realize that I had no clue what adults balanced.) I am an OCD-like spic-n-span cleaner too and get a lot of pleasure out of controlling one of the only things in life that can be – my home environment.

My Front Yard

There are a lot of responsibilities that come with owning a home. The one that plagues me right now is landscaping. Never before has my brain hurt like this from pondering “what should I do early spring before it’s too late in the year for South Carolina temperatures” and “what type of ground cover should I plant on that barren back hill that won’t take a decade to lush-up” and “should I have some of these trees cut down so that my garden and grass can get enough sunlight”. Never before has my back hurt like this from battling fallen leaves from 100 trees on my acre+ lot, spreading mulch, pulling weeds, pressure washing the deck and more.

I put this on myself. Never before have I had this much pride in my surroundings, wanting my yard to be a place of beauty, peace and functionality. It is also a nice source of unusual exercise. My perfectionist tendencies help is some ways – I’m detail-oriented to pick out a shade mix grass seed for my forest of a lawn. They hinder in some ways – I want to do everything as great as I can as fast and I can  and end up disappointed because it’s just not possible.

The gorgeous houses down North Main Street make it look utterly appealing and simple. Pristine mowing, shrubbery, floral plantings, stone paths and birdbaths abound, mmmyes. (I wish you could hear the sound effect.) The easy part is that they hire professionals to care for their properties. I can’t bring myself to give up yet.

It has begun as of April and will continue through October, when cooler weather sets in. We will all slave away with grounds keeping, both backbreaking and heartbreaking. I say kudos to those optimistic fools like me out there! I will defy Mother Nature for another season. But understanding my plight, I will show good faith and will not get upset. I am literally going outside after writing this article to rake and transplant ivy.