February 18, 2015

How to Make a Fail-Safe To-Do List

I like to make schedules. Schedules make me feel organized and in control.

But let's be honest, when you have kids, schedules don't always work. Also, as much as I like making schedules, I'm horrible at sticking to them. I'm like a Type B person with Type A tendencies (making schedules). Or maybe I'm just lazy. Either way, schedules don't always work for me.

So while I like to make schedules (and use them as a guideline), non-time constraining to-do lists work much better for me.

Fail Proof To-Do List

Here is how I structure my to do lists.

1. Make a Master To Do List

Each week, I make a master to-do list. This list includes all chores, errands/appointments and projects that I want to accomplish for the week.

2. Daily Top 3

Each morning (or sometimes the night before) I make my to-do list for the day. I start with non-negotiable items like appointments and homeschool and then I do my top three which I categorize into the following (Do these first, when/if possible):

  1. Something for my family – I try to do at least one thing every day for my family. It can be as simple as making a special treat for them.
  2. Something for myself – usually blogging or working
  3. Chore – This usually involves a chore aside from the daily picking up and cleaning the kitchen. It can be something like deep cleaning a bathroom, organizing a drawer or paying bills.

3. Daily Essential's

These are my work before play tasks.

After I get my top 3 items on my to-do list, I add in my daily essentials like cleaning the kitchen (I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen). For me, these are things that I can easily get checked off my list each day.

4. Non-Essential's

Lastly, I list my non-essential's for the day…tasks that I'd like to complete if I have any extra time. These are things that I don't mind migrating to the next day like chores or projects that don't have to be done right away. If I get to the point to where a non-essential item becomes an essential item (i.e. getting close to a deadline) then I move it to my Top 3.


If any of the items on my list don't get completed, I try not to worry about it and just migrate it to the next day's list. The world isn't going to end if a couple things don't get done in a day so if it doesn't get done, it doesn't get done. Worry about it another day.

So what do you think? Is this how you go about making your daily to-do lists?

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