Leave a Breadcrumb Trail

Remember Hansel and Gretel? Part of planning to succeed is marking a path, leaving yourself reminders. Set yourself up to do what you have determined is best. Or, set yourself up for success.

Put reminders in your path. If you need to bring a present to the shower, put it by the front door. Tripping over something can be such an effective reminder.

Keep a basket on the stairway of items to go upstairs — and make a habit to check it each time your hands are empty on the way up.

Put the discussion questions for the book club meeting in your planner in the week of the meeting. You won’t need them until then, but you’ll have them when you do need them.

Set alarms. Many have found this a top benefit of the smartphone. You can remind yourself to stop doing something because your time is up. You can remind yourself to start doing something so you can be ready in time. Set an alarm to remind you to change the laundry or start making dinner.

Race the stopwatch or egg timer with routine cleaning tasks. Give yourself 20 minutes to power nap. Play with it and do what works best for you — but make the most of the tool.

Schedule time on a regular basis to accomplish the steps in your plan. If you know you will need a lot of time, over a good chunk of time, go ahead and schedule it. You will run into the calendar entry, hopefully, and remember to chip away at the project.

If you block time on your schedule on a monthly and weekly basis, you make sure you stumble over what you need to do. Some of us need that extra help! Often distractions consume our days, but if your calendar simply reminds you that you need to spend an hour paying bills today in spite of those distractions, you have a helping hand.

Organize Your To-Do List

Your to-do list is a key tool, and we have talked about the importance of having one and how to use it in other posts. Today we will go one step further and see how you can use your list more effectively.

You can sort your to-do list into groups that help you choose one more quickly in the moment. If your list has three boxes (or colors, or columns, etc.) — At Home, On the Road, On the Phone — you can go directly to that section when you are in that place.

For instance, when you are waiting for practice to end, you can look right at the Phone tasks and pick one phone call to make in those few minutes. You knock it off at the best time, and you don’t have to review your entire list to see what could work at that time.

Your Home tasks will be front burner when you are home with unscheduled time for taking care of that stuff. Your Travel tasks will be the group you tackle on the way somewhere or during the 2 hours of “getting out” time in the morning. Your Phone tasks can be calls or updates in an app or online orders or online research — whatever is needed and fits for that tool.

If you use tech options for your to-do list, those should have filters or labels or folders that allow you to divide up your list in these groups.

This doesn’t change your need to prioritize your tasks and activities, but it does help you know where to go when you have an opportunity that only fits some tasks.