Everyone knows it’s a great idea to keep a to do list. And many think that’s it. You just list everything you have to, need to, want to do, and cross off each item as you accomplish it.

And basically, that’s true. So, if you’re doing this and still not getting things done, what’s wrong?

There are a few hints about using a list you should know.

First, only use one list and one system. Do not have pieces of your list scattered all over on notepads, sticky notes, napkins and on the back of other people’s business cards. Carry a notebook with you and “capture” stray thoughts about what you want to add to your list. Then add those items to the list when you next look at it. You have to have everything listed so you can prioritize what needs to be done.

Next, it doesn’t have to be an actual list. One nifty way to handle your to-dos is to use index cards. They are handy because they can fit into a small space like pocket or purse, and they are more durable than paper. I have just recently come to this system because I have many recurring to-dos each day.

  1. I have a card all made up of routine tasks for each day of the week.
  2. And I have two other cards made up for things I want to do every day. One for work (writing) and one for household.
  3. Then I have a card where I list occasional things, like getting the tax stuff ready for the tax man, making a dental appointment, fun things like that. Those things I cross off as I do them. When the card is too full to add anything more, I transfer the undone things to another card and keep going.

All the other cards have the things I need to do daily in a semblance of the order I hope to do them in. So, I don’t cross off anything. I just look at them every so often to see how I’m doing.

If your routine isn’t so structured, then having a running to do list is probably the way to go. Just remember to keep it all on one list and look at it often during the day.

Using a to do list is the most basic and probably the most powerful thing, along with a calendar, you can use to organize your life. Do you have a to do list?


Who knew? Who knew there was a month dedicated to time management? It makes sense to have it in the second month of the year because this is the time those wonderful resolutions begin to weaken.

How was your January? Did you make some plans on how to spend your time to reach your goals for the year?

Here’s a quick recap on how best to manage your time.

  • List your goals.
  • Order the goals in importance, giving them A, B, C, and D ratings.
  • Plan to do your most important goals early is the day unless you’re a night person. Otherwise, plan your evening hours.
  • If you complete your A goals, move to B, then C. Decide if you really, really need to do most of the C and D ones.
  • If you have a sit-down job, resolve to get out of the chair at least every hour and move around for about ten minutes. If you stand a lot, take some sitting breaks regularly during the day.
  • Keep track of your time. You need to know how long things take in order to do a good job of planning in the future.
  • At the end of the day, pat yourself on the back when you accomplish all your A goals, put your feet up and read a good book. Or watch TV if you absolutely have to. <grin>

And basically, that’s it. My job is now done. But most likely I’ll be back with more tips as the year goes by. You are warned.


Today I decided to talk about packing for a trip. Trips are fun, right, but packing, not so much. Since we just returned a while ago from a three-week road trip in a car (after spending eleven years traveling fulltime by motorhome), the memory of packing and “living out of a suitcase” is still fresh.

Dear Husband does not like to lug a lot of items into and back out of rooms every stop, so I tried to think of a way to make it easier on him. It’s not so bad when you stay in a motel/hotel room for several days, but when you have to take a lot of things out of the car, into the motel, and back into the car the very next morning, hauling a bunch of stuff is a pain, especially if you have an inside room, have to use an elevator, and so forth.

Two things stand out in my mind: less is more, and Ziploc bags are your friends.

What we did was have two suitcases, one medium, one large; and two laundry bags, one large, one small (actually a medium-size tote). The large suitcase held extra underwear, hangers as they were used (we hung up our clothes on a rod across the back of the car), and other miscellaneous stuff (shoes, for example) that we didn’t need every night. Once in awhile we would re-stock our smaller suitcase from the large one. And instead of lugging the large laundry bag in and out as it got heavier and heavier, we simply used the tote and transferred the dirty clothes into the large bag every time we headed out again.

So, these are the things we ended up carrying into a room each time:

  • One medium-sized suitcase with laundry tote inside.
  • One very small cooler (holds six cans, and we stocked it every morning with ice and drinks for the road from a stash in the back of the car).
  • Hanging clothes, as needed.
  • My purse and a tiny tote with miscellaneous things like peanut-butter cracker packs, a visor, brochures, etc.
  • Two laptop computers, one in a large briefcase-type carrier where everything with a cord or that was electronic lived (chargers, for example). Reading material and my Kindle also fit in the case.
  • Another tote with all my hair care items—dryer, curler, wire brush, products (in Ziploc bags).

One place we stayed for just over a week. For that, we lugged up the big suitcase, too, a lot more hanging clothes, and a bed reading pillow for me.

If we were flying, clothes would have to be packed instead of hung on the rod, of course, and the stuff in the hair care tote, too. But we had plenty of room left in the larger suitcase to do that. We wouldn’t be taking the reading pillow or the cooler.

We each had a special carrier for personal items that could be zipped up and placed in the small suitcase. Ziploc bags were used to hold miscellaneous items—for example, extra washcloths, anything that might leak like shampoo, body wash, etc. Easy to see what’s inside and extra insurance against leaks.

And that was it. What more did we need? Nothing. We didn’t have to buy anything while gone. I, of course, worked from a list that’s been refined over the years and is kept on my laptop to print out each time.  The list includes everything we need to do before we shut up the house—turn off the water, unplug appliances, turn off the fountain in the back yard, and so on.

I still don’t like to pack, but at least having a system is reassuring and a lot quicker than just doing it on the fly. Anyone have some other good tricks for packing for a trip? Please share.