The Timing of Tasks

I made a to-do list today.  I hate lists!  My mother was always, always making crazy, elaborate to-do lists mostly related to cleaning the house and I’ve been rebelling against list making (well, cleaning the house, too) ever since I can remember.  If you must know, I didn’t even make my list today until it was 1/2 done but I did make it.  I stumbled across this idea in the April 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine in an article entitled 6 Reasons Why You Feel Exhausted which intrigued me quite a bit.  The idea is from Allyson Lewis, author of The 7 Minute Solution (which I have not read but would now very much like to read).  Basically, you decide on 5 tasks you’d like to accomplish before 11:00a.m.   I decided to give it a try.

I tried it last Monday and had limited success.  Of course, I think making my list of 5 things at 9:45a.m may have been a factor in my accomplishments that day.   My list from that day was actually not very hard or exciting.  It looked like this:

  1. Clean kitchen/bathrooms
  2. E-mail PTA board important dates for school of information
  3. Review PTA corresponding secretary “notebook” and see what I need to turn it into a real notebook (My predecessor handed me a folder at the last meeting and it was not organized)
  4. Check MOPTA website for officer installation ideas
  5. Strip all the beds

Interestingly, I managed to accomplish all the tasks that involved the computer and those cleaning tasks…not so much.  I did start on the kitchen and bathrooms but then the time ran out.

Still, I remained intrigued with this idea so today I decided to give it another shot.  However, I decided 5 tasks before 11:00a.m. was too limiting for me.  I think it would work great for someone who was an early riser and could start their day without worrying about getting kids out the door for school or was already in a planning routine.  I decided to give my self a bit more time and add two extra tasks to the list since I was stretching the time a bit.  I went with a 7 items before 1p.m. list instead.  AND, I almost completed the whole list!  I’m finishing up item 7 right now 🙂  Here’s the list from today:

  1. Change cat litter
  2. Clean out fridge
  3. Clean cat hair off sofa/chair and clean out underneath them as well
  4. Vacuum/mop living room and kitchen floors
  5. Clean bathroom in our bedroom
  6. Make chocolate chip cookie dough balls and freeze
  7. Write and publish blog post

Hopefully, you can look and see just like I can that this is simply prioritizing.  However, I do think the time limit puts a fun twist on the idea and I can see where it could easily be expanded to set another group of tasks for the afternoon, such as a short list of 3 items to accomplish by 4p.m.   What do you think of this system?  Have you ever read The 7 Minute Solution?   Also, please tell me I’m not the only one out there who dislikes making lists.

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6 thoughts on “The Timing of Tasks


    I have a love-hate relationship with lists. I like making them but I don’t like doing them. It’s almost like – as soon as I make the list – I don’t want to do it. I feel a bit claustrophobic. I don’t want to be bossed or locked in to doing what’s on that list. That’s why one part of my daily planning page has a list of dailies that I refer to as a “checklist”. Checklist is less offensive than to do list. I don’t like people (or lists) telling me what to do. Oh, my. I sound like a rebel, don’t I?

    Thanks for sharing the article and book. I’m going to check them both out now. recently posted..Too Busy To Get The Basics Done?My Profile

  2. Elizabeth

    Did we have the same mother? My mom wrote the IMPOSSIBLE list for everyone but herself. My husband to this day still complains about those lists and he only lived with her for about 6 months and that was over 13 years ago! That’s how bad the lists are.
    I still write lists but I’ll add things in that I had already done that day so that I can automatically cross them off and think, “See I did something!”
    I read that article too but yeah it was pretty unrealistic for me too. Getting up at 6am is hard enough and then I’m in this dazed state for the next hour as I try to pump coffee into myself and am happy just to keep the kids on track and then there’s work EVIL work. So I have about an hour free in the mornings 5 tasks better be commenting on 3 blogs and 2 reposts of cat pictures on Facebook 🙂
    Glad to see some adjustment made it work a little better for you keep up the good work! 🙂
    Elizabeth recently posted..Budget Numbers FudgedMy Profile

    1. Jean Post author

      Well, my mother never made us lists so I’ll give her that one. Oh, reposting pictures of cats absolutely counts as a task! 🙂

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