I used to write a list of everything I wanted to accomplish during the day. I thought I was writing a to do list, but what it turned into was really a wish list of everything that I could get done if everything went according to plan, nothing took longer than expected, there were no interruptions, and I was operating at peak capacity with no breaks.
Guess how many times I finished that list? Um, probably less than five.
I would go to bed feeling like such a failure because I couldn’t get all those things done that were important to me.
Now, having a lot of things to put on your to-do list is actually a blessing. It means there are so many things you are interested in and want to accomplish (life would be pretty boring otherwise!) But you do have to be realistic about what you can get done, or you’ll simply be setting yourself up to feel guilty.
If you want to stop feeling stressed by the things that are supposed to give you life and excite you, let me introduce you to the three bucket system for planning your days. Or you can watch it here:
You can also check out the 2022 Get Organized HQ Planner which uses the HOP To It system to get more out of your days with less stress. I
Bucket 1: Main Priorities
When planning your day, I encourage you to divide up the day’s tasks into three buckets. The first bucket is for main priorities, and I use the phrase “HOP to it!” to give some structure to this bucket.
H stands for habit. I could go on and on about the importance of habits. (Truth is, I have, and you can read about it here!) In short, habits are the only way to get more time back in your day. By putting certain tasks on autopilot you'll reserve more of your mental energy for the harder stuff.
I recommend working on just one habit for at least a whole month (if not longer!) No matter what, do that habit every. single. day. It doesn't have to be hard or time consuming. It just needs to be something that will make your life easier once your brain truly starts doing that tasks on autopilot. Maybe your habit is going to be washing the dishes right after dinner, or making your bed first thing in the morning. Whatever it may be, I encourage you to pick a habit and stick with it for a month. I think the results will surprise you!
O stands for objective. If you went to bed tonight and had only gotten three things done on your to do list, what would you want those three things to be? The answer to that question will give you a pretty good indication of what your main objectives for the day should be. As I stated before, you won't be able to get everything checked off your to do list every day, so it's important to know which items on that list matter the most.
I would strongly suggest not having more than five objectives for any given day. These objectives are the tasks that you are going to prioritize and get done first, so make sure that they're things you reasonable can get done today!
P stands for passion. At the end of your life you'll want to look back and remember that you did more than take out the trash and vacuum the house. Make sure that every day, even if it's just for ten minutes, you do something you're passionate about. That may be connecting with a family member, reading a novel, baking a new treat, or doing a craft. It doesn't have to take long, and there isn't any right or wrong, but I encourage you to always include something you'll enjoy in your daily plan.
Bucket 2 – Appointments
Bucket two is a pretty easy one. This bucket is for any appointments or errands that you need to attend to during the day. Things like carpooling kids to and from practice, taking a package to the post office, or getting to your dentist appointment. Jot these down so you don’t forget to be there on time!
Bucket 3 – Wish List
Remember how I said that I used to write out what I thought was a to-do list, but it was actually a wish list? Well, there is a place in your daily plan for that wish list, and that’s bucket three.
This bucket is where you can brain dump all the things you’d like to get done soon, but may or may not get to today. I like having this bucket because I know that I won’t forget about something important just because it isn’t the very top priority for today.
There will probably be a lot of days that you never get anything from bucket three crossed off the list, and that’s okay! The day is still a success even if you never dip into bucket three.
If you've found yourself going to bed with that nagging feeling of guilt, I hope this simple framework helps your prioritize your days so that you can go to bed at peace with the day and with yourself. After all, a good night's rest will only help you to have an even better day tomorrow! And be sure and take a look at the 2022 Get Organized HQ Planner which is designed for the HOP To It system!
Organization that actually sticks for busy, happy lives.