Much To Do

Are you a list maker? I know I am! I make many many lists…. post it lists, grocery lists, envelope lists, and even fairly organized to-do lists. I still like my three types of lists: do this at home, do this today, do this later notepads. But at my new school the physical space is a roadblock. I can’t explain it, because it’s not like I don’t have a desk or counter space, but there’s less counter space. And I now share that space. I work very hard (and fail very much) at keeping my flat space cleared off. Lists are also  personal. I don’t know that I want to keep mine out on the desk. It would be a great communication tool between me and the library media assistant, but it’s not that kind of list. There’s way too much of me on the list and it would just be confusing to work out.

So anyway…I didn’t have a plan and after 3 months of work it was getting bad. I wasn’t really forgetting a lot, but there were a lot of post its floating around, and more importantly, my mind was getting crowded.

I like to listen to the Get-it-Done Guy of the Quick and Dirty Tips group (you may have heard of Grammar Girl). More than one of his podcasts have been about to do lists. You can read about how to choose a tool for your to do list, create a better to do list, or better manage your to do list. There are some great ideas in his transcripts.

Anyway, this year I have tried, google tasks, and looked at several other online tools. None of them felt right. I had to go back to paper and pen.

I bought a nice notebook and started to make my list. I listed it all. The “can you pull weather books?” items that take five minutes and the “write a curriculum” big ideas all on the same page. So far (a whole 3 weeks) this has worked great. The list allows me to get the big ideas that may take months (or even be summer projects) onto paper. I can think about them. They motivate me to keep going because they are big ideas I want to work on and might be able to start in little bits. And I can keep track of the “will you do this?” items. I cross items off and keep adding more to my list. I’m not worried about how long the list is or when I’ll get it done. I keep going back through my few pages and check things off.

At the first of the month I’ll start a fresh page and rewrite anything that’s not checked off. If it’s still a big idea then it will go back on the list. If it’s something that doesn’t need to be done then it won’t be transferred over to the next month.

I am glad I bought a nice notebook. It means that my list can go everywhere. I can also find it easily since it’s not on a notepad. Having such a nice looking list motivates me to keep pulling it out to work with it. I take it to grade level meetings, church, when I work at a table out in the library, etc.

So, to do lists. A critical part of how we do our job and meet the needs of our students is how we organize our own information. I hope you have a strategy that works for you!

December 22, 2011
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