How to Get that To-Do List DONE!

Productivity is something we can all benefit from, and there are a lot of ways you can work to improve  your productivity. To-do lists are one of many activities people use to become more productive and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. But there is a major divide when it comes to to-do lists. There are those who believe that lists help keep them accountable and on track, and those who believe that lists do nothing more than create an environment of stress.

I am firmly aligned in the pro-list camp, and my list making habits have gone through a number of transformations, changing as my business and personal needs have changed. Based on this experience, here are 10 tips I have learned that can apply to just about any type of to-do list you may use in your life to help you make your list a productivity tool instead of a time suck.

Creating a System

1. Pick a system that works for you: There are many to-do list systems, from software, to online apps, to complete project management tools, to good old fashioned pen and paper. It really doesn’t matter what you use to create your list, only that it’s something that you can understand, keep up with and mold to fit your needs. If you’re just getting started or need to revamp your current system, watch for my next post that will include a list of online tools.

While you will likely need to modify any existing systems so they work for your individual needs, you can get a solid starting point and develop new process ideas from systems that are already working for others. Watch for a future post that will provide an overview on some to-do list/productivity/information management systems you can consider as a starting point.

2. Make it pleasing to you: Possibly because of my design background, I need every system I work with to actually look good. When it comes to to-do lists, something that is pleasing to the eye and is extremely organized makes me feel good about using the system and encourages increased productivity. So be sure to pick a system that you actually like the look and feel of.

Getting Started

3. Start with a brain dump: Start by writing/typing every possible task that comes to mind. Don’t worry about making it look pretty yet, this step is just meant to get everything in one place. If you have existing lists, be sure to grab those items and pull them into your brain dump list, too.

4. Divide and organize: Once you have everything in one place, take some time to separate your tasks into categories. Your categories may be comprised of any dynamics that work for you — business and personal tasks, client projects, high-priority items, etc.

5. Break everything down into individual actions: Each item on your list should be an individual and measureable task. Instead of “Design website,” try to break it down in digestible tasks that make sense:

  • Discuss needs with client
  • Create sitemap
  • Collect site art and other business marketing materials from client
  • Create mockup
  • And so on…

It’s especially helpful when starting a new project to start with the final deliverable in mind, consider each step of the process and develop small tasks that will get you to the end point.

6. Use verbs: Every task item should be a specific act you need to do, so start everything with an action verb.

Managing Your List

7. Prioritize: Once you have your list created, look at each category and mark items that are of the highest priority. You may want to create a ranking system so you know the level of importance of every task and can sort accordingly.

8. Make a realistic “today” list: To avoid having a massive list facing you every day, it can be helpful to schedule tasks and create time-based lists – today, this week, this month, etc. And be realistic about what you can accomplish in that time period. By creating manageable and achievable lists, you will be more likely to stick with it.

9. Schedule weekly time for the un-doables: Items listed as lower priority tend to drop down to the bottom of the list, as they should. But you may find that you end up with a growing list of low-priority tasks that you keep rolling over from week to week. Scheduling regular time to act on these items will help you keep your list clean and current (and get rid of the stuff you’ve been putting off).

10. Be flexible and willing to adjust: Once you’re setup, avoid thinking of your system as being set in stone. Your life changes, so your list should be able to change as well. Keep an open-minded perspective on how to organize and manage your list in order to give your list a chance to morph as necessary.

How do you use a to-do list? What tips would you add here?

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DESCRIPTION
Shop and save the organized way with the EZ Coupon Organizer by Jokari®. Made of 210-denier polyester fabric, this coupon pouch will last grocery trip after grocery trip. The organizer contains inside pockets to hold shopper reward cards and 12 dividers with pre-printed stickers and blank stickers to create own categories. With some much space, the pouch can hold over 100 coupons. A velcro closure keeps all your coupon clippings and rewards cards safe and secure. The same velcro closure allows you to attach the coupon holder to the shopping cart handle bar for convenient access.

Walgreens Deals 9/30 -FREE Cough Drops and Skin Care Wipes

 Check out thses great deals to score at Walgreens this week!

Remember that you need to be a Balance Rewards member to recieve the sales going on at Walgreens. So if you haven’t already signed up, go here, and then when you get to Walgreens, tell them that you need a Balance Card, and you should only have to give them your phone number! It’s simple!

Cepacol Sensations Lozenges, 4 ct $1.00
Buy 1, Receive $1.00 Register Reward
Use $1.00/1 – Here
 Final Price: $1.00 Moneymaker

Brach’s Autumn Candy, 4.2 or 5 oz $0.99
Use $1.50/2 – Here
Final Price: $0.24 each, when you buy 2

Dawn Dish Liquid, 9 oz $0.99
Use $0.75/1 Dawn Hand Renewal PG 8/26 (exp 9/30)
Final Price: $0.24

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 25 ct $6.49, regular price (33% Off)
Buy 1, Receive 1,500 Balance Rewards Points
Use $2.00/1 – Here
Final Price: $2.33, Receive 1,500 Balance Rewards Points

Gillette Venus or Fusion ProGlide Razor System, excludes ProGlide Styler $9.99 (Buy 1, Receive $4.00 Register Reward)
Use $4.00/1 RP 8/12 (exp 9/30)
Pay $5.99, Receive $4.00 Register Reward
Final Price: $1.99

Halloween Pencils or Gift Sacks – 8/$1 (Limit 16)

Halloween Activity Pads or Books – 3/$1 (Limit 12)

Halloween Decorations 2/$12 |Screaming Doormat |Licensed Pre-Lit Canvas |Wine/Beer Glasses |Novelty Light Set |Lighted Decor

Halloween Decorations 3/$10 |Select Decor |Select Lights |Solar Stakes |And More…

Halloween Decorations $12.99 |Buried Skeleton |Animated Spooky Pumpkin |Animated Glitter Water Globe

Free Samples Storage Idea

So I have been wanting to tell you guys a great way to store all of the freebies and samples that I post. I know it can be a hassle once you recieve them, to store them someplace, so I wanted to share with you, what I do for all of my free samples. Check it out:

I use a storage tote to store my samples in, and these (like the one above) can be purchases at walmart for a good price. When trying to figure out which container to buy, you want to remember that it has to be stored somewhere, so go for one that is not to wide, but can still hold alot.

After you have decided which one you want, it might seem kind of plain. So a great way to get it decorated, and also to get your kids busy, would be for them to color on plain white printer paper, and you sort of make a collage out of their drawings.

Let me know if you have other ideas on where you store your freebies. 🙂

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Walmart Deals -EVERYTHING UNDER $1

Check out these deals to score when you head into Walmart:

Baileys Coffee Creamer 16-oz  priced around $1.88
Use the $1.50/1 Baileys Coffee Creamer coupon found here
Final cost only $0.38

Purina Beneful Dog Food trial bag $1
Use the $2/1 Purina Beneful Dog Food (no size exclusions!) coupon found in the 9/09 RP
Final cost FREE + $1 in overage

Head & Shoulders Shampoo 6.8 oz $2.67
Use the $2/1 Head & Shoulders Product coupon found in the 9/30 PG
Final cost only $0.67

Ball Park Franks on possible Rollback 2/$3
Use the $1/2 Ball Park Hot Dogs coupon found here
Final cost as low as only $1 each

Ball Park Turkey Franks $2.48
Use the $1/2 Ball Park Hot Dogs coupon found here
Final cost $1.98 per package

Ritz Crackerful Singles (located in the checkout lane) $0.88
Buy 2 at $0.88 each
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Final Cost $0.38 each

Variouus Knorr Bouillon Products $0.68-$0.94
Use the $0.50/1 Knorr Bouillon coupon found here
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Heartland Pasta 12 oz priced around $1.48
Use the $1/1 Heartland Pasta coupon found here
or use the $0.55/1 Heartland Pasta coupon found here
Final cost as low as only $0.48 for a box

***UPDATE OF MORE SOON***

Great deal on Head & Shoulders at Walmart! (Starts 9/30)

Check out this awesome deal on Head & Shoulders Shampoo and Conditioner at Walmart:

Head & Shoulders Shampoo 6.8 oz $2.67
Use the $2/1 Head & Shoulders Product coupon found in the 9/30 PG (Limit 4 coupons per visit)
Final cost only $0.67!

Coupon Preview 9/30 – 3 GREAT INSERTS

This is a great week to buy extra papers! Why? Look at these coupons!

Red Plum Coupon Inserts 9/30

Adams/Comfort Zone/Avoderm $2/1 product (10/31/12) Advil $1/1 Children’s product (11/30/12) all $1/1 mighty pacs 24 loads+ (11/11/12) all $2/2 liquid, powder or mighty pacs laundry detergent 24 loads+ ets (11/11/12) Arrowhead $1/1 8oz multipack 100% Mountain Spring Water or 100% Mountain Spring Water with Natural Flouride (11/11/12) Arrowhead $2 off 700mL multi-pack 100% Mountain Spring Water wyb 1 .5-liter 24pk (11/11/12) Axe Buy 1 styling product, get 1 shampoo free 12oz shampoo only ets up to $6 (10/28/12) Bar S $.75/1 deli shaved lunchmeat (11/30/12) Bertolli $1/1 Meal Soup (10/28/12) Bertolli $1/1 Meal Soup, Frozen Meal or Risotto (10/28/12) Carnation $.50/2 12oz cans evaporated milk (12/31/12) Centrum $3/1 Flavor Burst chews 60ct+ (11/24/12) Degree Men $.75/1 Adrenaline Series product ets (10/28/12) Degree Men Buy 1 product, get Clear Men Scalp Therapy free ets up to $6.99 (10/28/12) Degree Women $.75/1 Expert Protection product ets (10/28/12) Dimetapp $1/1 Children’s product (11/11/120 Disney/Marvel $1/1 vitamin item (11/14/12) Dove $.25/1 hair care product ets (10/28/12) Dove $.50/1 beauty bar 6pk+ ets eM+C (10/28/12) Dove $.75/1 go sleeveless, ClearTone, go fresh or Clinical Protection antiperspirant/deodorant ets eM+C (10/28/12) Dove $2/1 body wash 18oz+ ets eM+C (10/28/12) Dove Buy 1 shampoo AND 1 conditioner, get styling product free ets up to $6 (10/28/12) Dove Men+Care $1/1 antiperspirant 2.7oz or deodorant 3oz ets (10/28/12) Dove Men+Care $2/1 Body and Face Bar 6pk+ ets (10/28/12) Dove Men+Care $2/1 Body and Face Wash 13.oz+ ets or Active Clean Shower Tool (10/28/12) Feline Greenies $1/1 Smartbites cat treats or dental treats (11/18/12) Fleischmann’s $.40/1 pizza crust yeast strip (1/6/13) Fleischmann’s $.40/1 pizza crust yeast strip (11/22/12) Fleischmann’s $.40/1 strip yeast (1/6/13) Fleischmann’s $1/1 jar yeast (1/6/13) Fleischmann’s/Argo $.40/1 Argo 16oz corn starch or Fleischmann’s yeast strip (1/6/13) Karo $.40/1 16oz+ syrup (11/22/12) Karo $.40/1 16oz+ syrup (3/31/13) Kaytee/Aqueon/Zilla $2/1 product (10/31/12) L’Oreal $1/1 Paris eye product (11/25/12) L’Oreal $2/1 Preference shade (11/25/12) Meow Mix $.75/1 dry cat food 3lbs+ (11/24/12) Meow Mix $1/6 single cat food cups or 1 variety pack (11/24/12) Nylabone/Four Paws/Pet Select $2/1 product (10/31/12) Paseo/Fiora $.50/1 product excluding single-roll bath tissue (12/31/12) Paseo/Fiora $1/1 large pack bath tissue or towel (12/31/12) Pedigree $1/1 dry food for dogs 3.5lb+ (11/24/12) Pedigree $1/1 Little Champions pouch variety pack 8 or 12ct or 6 single pouches, 6 trays or 6 13.2oz cans (11/24/12) PF Changs $1/1 Home Menu Spring Rolls or Dumplings (10/28/12) POND’S $1/1 cream, towelettes or cleansing product (10/28/12) POND’S $1/1 Luminous Clean product ets (10/28/12) Pringles $.50/1 Snack Stacks ets (10/31/12) Pringles $1/4 Super Stack cans 180g+ ets (10/31/12) Simple $2/1 product ets (10/28/12) Suave Professionals Buy 1 shampoo AND 1 conditioner, get 1 styling product free ets up to $4 (10/28/12) Sundown Naturals $1/1 vitamin or supplement excluding adult multi (10/30/12) Superpretzel $1/2 items (10/20/12) Surf $1/1 laundry detergent (11/11/12) TRESemme Buy 1 shampoo AND 1 conditioner, get styling product free ets up to $6 (10/28/12) Vaseline $2/1 lotion including Men 20.3oz+ ets (10/28/12) Weight Watchers $1/1 Sweet bakery product (12/31/12) Welch’s $.75/1 100% juice 64oz or multi-pack (11/15/12) Welch’s $1/2 jams, jellies or spreads (12/31/12) Wildwood $.50/1 organic tofu dnd (12/31/12) Wildwood/Emerald Valley $.50/1 kitchen organic hummus dnd (12/31/12)

P&G Coupon Inserts 9/30

Always $1/2 pads or liners Always $2.50/2 Infinity pads, Radiant Infinity pads 12ct+ or Radiant liners 64ct+ Bounce $.50/1 product Bounty $.25/1 napkins Bounty $.25/1 towels or napkins Cascade $1/1 ActionPacs Charmin $.25/1 product Clairol $2/1 Natural Instincts or Nice ‘n Easy hair color box Covergirl $1/1 product Covergirl $1/1 product Covergirl $3/1 Simply Ageless excludes Serum Primer Covergirl $3/2 products Crest $.50/1 toothpaste 4oz+ or liquid gel Crest $1.50/1 Rinse 458mL+ Downy $1/1 product Duracell $.50/1 CopperTop, Ultra Power, Ultra Photo Lithium or Specialty batteries Duracell $3/1 rechargeable batteries, charger or hearing aid batteries 6pk+ Febreze $1/1 5.5oz candle Febreze $1/1 Air Effects Febreze $1/1 car Febreze $1/1 Fabric Refresher Febreze $1/1 Set & Refresh Febreze $1/2 3.oz candles Febreze $2/2 products Febreze Buy NOTICEables refill, get NOTICEables warmer up to $3.50 Fixodent $.75/1 cleanser Fixodent $1/1 adhesive 1.05oz+ Gillette $1/2 body washes or deodorants Head & Shoulders $2/1 product Ivory/Safeguard $.50/1 personal cleansing product excludes dish & laundry Luvs $1/2 bags or $1/1 diapers box Olay $2/1 complete facial moisturizer, daily facial or cleansers excludes Clean & Mild cloths, ProX, Regenerist, Total Effects and ADS Olay $3/1 Total Effects facial moisturizer or facial hair removal Olay $5/1 ProX or Regenerist facial moisturizer or ProX cleansing device Olay Buy facial cleanser, get $2 off bath bar, body wash or in shower body lotion excludes ProX, Regenerist, Total Effects or ADS cleansers Old Spice $1/2 products Oral-B $.50/1 Glide floss 35m+ or Glide floss picks 30ct+ Oral-B $.50/1 Pulsar, 3D White, Pro-Health or Complete or $.50/2 Indicator or Cavity Defense toothbrushes Pampers $1/2 bags or $1/1 diapers or pants box Pantene $1/2 products Prilosec OTC $1/1 product no restriction Puffs $.25/1 single or 1 3pk+ Scope $.75/1 mouthwash 710mL+ Secret $.75/1 Outlast Secret $1/2 products Swiffer B1G1 free Dust & Shine up to $3.89 Swiffer Buy refill, get $2 off starter kit Tampax $2.50/2 Pearl or Radiant tampons including Compak 16ct+ Tide $1/1 detergent excluding PODS Tide $1/1 Washing Machine Cleaner or Boost Venus $3/both refillable razor or bikini razor AND 1 refill excludes disposables Vicks $1/1 product excluding VaopDrops and ZzzQuil Vicks $3/2 products excluding VaopDrops and ZzzQuil ZzzQuil $1/1 product

Moment to Save Coupon Inserts 9/30

Crush $1/3 2-liter bottles dnd Doritos $.55/1 Jacked chips 10.5oz+ dnd Frito-Lay $1/1 variety pack 20ct+ Lay’s $.55/3 Stax 5oz+ dnd Lay’s $1/2 Kettle Cooked 8oz+ bags Lay’s $1/both 1 potato chips 10oz+ AND 1 Dips 14oz+ Lipton $1/2 64oz 100% Natural Iced Tea Lipton/Pure Leaf $1/2 Lipton Iced Tea 16.9oz plastic bottle 12pks or $1/2 Pure Leaf 18.5oz plastic bottle 6pks Pepsi $1/2 NEXT 2-liter bottles Pepsi $2/2 18pk, 20pk, 24pk or 30pk 12oz cans Quaker $1/2 instant oatmeal, standard oatmeal or Real Medleys Sabra $1/2 Hummus 17oz+, Salsa 14oz+, Guacamole 8oz+ or Veggie Dips 10oz+ Sierra Mist $1/3 2-liter bottles Smartfood $1/2 popcorn 7oz+ Smartfood Selects $1/2 snacks 3.25oz+ Starbucks $2/2 4pk Frappuccino or Doubleshot espresso Tostitos $1/1 tortilla chips 14oz+ or $1/1 salsa 23oz+

(Thanks Passion For Savings)

Free 3-Step System of Calico Minerals -HURRY!

Go here, and get your FREE 3 STEP SYSTEM! Woohoo!

I am sure this won’t last long, so HURRY!

Free Mailing Address Labels -FREE SHIPPING!

Go here, and request a sheet of mailing address labels, and choose between 2 designs (America, and Roses).

These won’t last long, so go quick!