How wise is it to have 85 items on your to-do list?

Okay, all 85 items aren’t on my daily list, but they are on my master list.  I created the master list so that I could keep track of all that I need or want to accomplish in the near future.  It was causing too much stress trying to remember everything.  The simple act of creating the master list has lifted a burden from my shoulders.  I am no longer constantly trying to remember everything, I just remind myself that everything is on the list, the monster master list, and I stop worrying.  If new things come up, instead of stressing, I just add them to the list.

Every morning I get up thirty minutes before the rest of the family to journal, read scriptures, and plan my day.  I make a list of the most pressing things that need to be done and I add a few from the master list.  Each evening it is gratifying to see the number of items I am able to cross off my daily list and slowly, but surely, items are leaving the master list as well.

The list system is working for me.

Lists are a big part of my life.  I use a grocery list when I shop.  I create lists of Christmas gifts I intend to give to family and friends.  I list my goals in my journal.  And I create chore lists for my kids.  Though, if they were to be asked about those lists, they would probably create a verbal list of every reason imaginable as to why kids should not be required to do chores. 

Even though the kids don’t prefer doing chores they do get them done using their lists.  It is a method that has been successful for me.  Before the kids get home from school I write them each a list of the chores I would like them to get done before bedtime (Hub writes the lists for his kids–there is less contention that way).  Each list consists of at least four items–clean their room, their weekly chore, their daily chore, and homework.  And, yes, our kids do consider homework a chore.  Here are today’s lists as an example (I left homework off the list because our kids don’t have school Thursday, Friday, or Monday for Fall Recess):

HUH’S LIST – Clean room, Sweep kitchen, Vacuum office

MACK’S LIST – Clean room, Dishes, Clean shower glass in upstairs bathroom

HOOB’S LIST – Clean room, Dog duty (clean up his “piles” in the backyard and provide his meals), straighten downstairs family room

YAWLIN’S LIST – Clean room, Help fix dinner, pick toys and garbage up in backyard.

Hub’s kids are with their mother today so they don’t have a list.  The kids are given the freedom to complete the items on their lists in any order that they desire and they can delay doing the lists for awhile, as long as the lists are completed before they go to bed.  Feeling as if they have some control usually helps kids be more cooperative.  If they slip up and forget to complete their list they get to do those chores, the new day’s chores, plus a couple of “extra” chores the next day.  They don’t want to do that so they usually make sure to get their lists done.  It works for us.

The power of lists is amazing.