10 Reasons Your To Do List Isn’t Working For You

Every mom I know has multiple lists, projects, tasks, and appointments to juggle. In our modern world, “just” running a household and taking care of kids requires some serious planning and administration if you don’t want to lose your sanity. Add in church or other organization commitments, homeschooling, running a farm, or – heaven forbid – a business and I’ll bet you’ve got at least 136 different things at any given moment buzzing in your head that you’re trying to remember to do, plan for, and figure out when you’ll have the time to do. To truly be the most productive mom you can be, this doesn’t work.

How can anyone possibly have a clear mind and feel at peace with all of this mind clutter?

That is what this blog seeks to answer.

Here are 10 reasons that a to do list isn’t enough for a productive mom:

1. It’s too long! You show me a mom who gets ALL of her “to do’s” on one list and I’ll show you a new market for Xanax.

2. It takes too much time to figure out what to do. By the time you’ve sifted through it to find something you have time to do, have the right tools to do, and are in the right place to do, the dryer has buzzed, the phone has rung, your kid has asked you 8 questions and now wants you to play Uno, which you do because you’re that kind of mom!

3. Used alone, it doesn’t help you to decide what’s truly important. It’s easy to procrastinate the important stuff. It’s much easier to pick up the phone and schedule that appointment than decide on a Father’s Day gift for your husband. I’ll pick the easy stuff every time.

4. We often wind up with multiple lists in different places! I might have one on my phone, one on the kitchen counter, one in my school planner. When deciding what to do today, I would have to go to multiple places to do effective planning.

5. It doesn’t help us to set goals. Maybe I have a list as long as my arm, but what I REALLY need to do is go for a jog and come home and make an omelette for lunch. Where does my health fit on my to do list? A productive mom knows how to set goals and take action on them.

6. Many of the things we do are recurring and don’t even make it onto our to do lists. Laundry, dinner, dishes repeat. Need I say more?

7. It can be more discouraging than encouraging. When we get to the end of the day and we’ve checked off 3 of our 136 item to do list, then added 4 more, we can tend to feel defeated. Tomorrow we’re more likely to chuck the list into a drawer and sit down for the day with our Facebook app and a handful of chocolate chips for a consoling distraction. But maybe that’s just me. A productive mom feels confident at the end of the day, knowing that she did the right things AND is okay with the things she DIDN’T do.

8. Decision fatigue. We have to make yet another decsion each time we select something to do. Pinterest anyone?

9. It can be inconvenient. When I am out in the chicken coop and see that the light bulb needs changing, either I don’t have my list, OR if my list is on my phone, I don’t want to bother typing it in. Never take your eyes off the rooster! But that’s another post…

10. I don’t want to live life from a list!!!

What is the solution? Any woman who runs a household needs a SYSTEM that works for her as a tool to:

1. Easily collect all of those brain-buzzing tasks that keep us from focusing on the present.
2. Allow grace for times when our families need us – they are our FIRST priority after all – and never a distraction.
3. Help us to focus on what is truly important.
4. Encourage us to use routines to get the daily, more mundane tasks done efficiently.
5. Give peace, knowing that we are doing the right thing at the right time.

Come back each Friday and let’s talk about how we can use our experiences, along with the research and best practices from the business world, to help us to be more focused and effective in these days of distraction.

Check out my next post:  What Does it Mean to be a Productive mom?