Ditch Your To-Do Lists and Get More Done

Why to-do lists don't work and what to do instead

October 28, 2022

It’s normal to make to-do lists in an effort to do all the things for whatever season you are about to walk into. But as much as we like them, to-do lists don’t work.

Is it the first of the year?

Is school letting out for the Summer?

Are you preparing to send your children to school?

Or maybe the holiday season is approaching?

As we get into these busier seasons, so many things start coming up and you are likely making lists with the hope that doing so will lead to getting all the things done!

I see it over and over again, serial list makers. You know, the kind that has a notebook for every area of life. A notebook for the kids, a notebook for the side hustle, a notebook for house to-do, and a notebook for all the categories…but nothing is actually getting done!

Truth be told, I have a drawer under my bed with nearly 10 different notebooks now (you know, just in case) but my productivity is not attached to my deep love of all things cute paper. My productivity is a direct result of the simple series of systems I use week in and week out.

Let’s start with why your to-do list doesn’t result in getting everything done.

Listen below for the entire episode on The Systemize Your Life Podcast

10 reasons lists don’t work

  1. You have too many lists in multiple places.
  2. You have lists that are too long and over-complicated.
  3. Your lists are a jumbled mess of random information that is not prioritized.
  4. Your daily habits are focused on making lists and not on crossing off your to-dos.
  5. Your list is private. No one can see it except for you.
  6. Your list has no deadlines. It’s just an indefinite list and because it is things remain incomplete.
  7. You probably can’t find it. Where is your list? Do you even know where you put the thing?
  8. You are using the list as a temporary tool hoping to reset, rather than setting up a system.
  9. You are using your to-do list to avoid actually doing the work that needs to be done.
  10. Your expectations of what can actually get done are far more than what you have time for.

Now that you know why your list-making habits ARE NOT working for you, let me share with you what you should be doing instead:

Step 1: The braindump

You will need to use a brain-dumping system that will fulfill your needs to have a list written out in front of you. It is a means to an end to get you caught up and into a place for you to operate out of your systems. Maybe you will have a to-do list every now and then, but you should be able to operate primarily out of your systems once you are caught up.

Listen to my brain dump podcast How to Use A Brain Dump to Increase Your Weekly Productivity.

Step 2: Identify your fundamental needs

Many of your regular to-dos can be eliminated from your list. How many times a week do you put: fold laundry, clean the house, buy groceries, and book a babysitter, on your list? These things that you do every week, are what I call my fundamental needs and they belong in your schedule as a recurring, non-negotiable NEED.

I have a free workbook about getting your fundamental needs set and how to get them into your planner and off your to-list (which you are getting rid of anyway, right).

Step 3: Use time blocks to structure your time

Once you have your brain dump list that brings all your existing lists into one place, and your fundamental needs, you need to begin to structure your day. I use a five-block, time-blocking system that holds all my routines, taking another layer of items that were on my to-do list. Creating routines in your home management system takes care of the daily and weekly to-dos, no list required.

I also have a free workbook on setting up your time blocks.

“My productivity is a direct result of the simple series of systems I use week in and week out.”

Step 4: Put it all on a communication board

Set yourself a communication board set up in your kitchen so that everyone can see all of the to-dos you have and support you. If you are curious about what a communication board looks like, go to the Facebook group and type “communication board” into the search bar and check out the boards that many of the women have shared. They have created some beautiful boards to help them support their families and the work that they do.

Ditching to-do lists in order to get more done as a work-from-home mom will transform what you accomplish in a day. Just a few systems and you will be amazed and how much more you will be accomplishing.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to Ditch the List and GET MORE DONE as a work-from-home mom? If you are giving these systems a try and just need some support, come hang out in the Facebook group. Ask questions. We are totally here for you and want to help. We look forward to seeing you over there!

And if you want to dive in even deeper and get the “copy and paste” solution for your home management system. Come find out more details about the Systemize Your Life Academy to learn how to time block your whole day and how to do your very best in motherhood, business, and home all the time.

Ditch your to-do list and to this instead

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I learn more about time blocking?

Time blocking is such a beautiful way to lead a more productive and intentional life. You can check out my free time blocking workbook to create time blocks that will set you up for success in your day to day life! Pair it with the workshop for even more rewards in helping you to zero in on what you need to focus on in your mornings and everyday routines. If you have any questions come ask the community in our Systemize Your Life Facebook group! You got this!

Why to lists don't work and what to do instead
10 reasons your to do lists aren't working

Knowing what to prioritize when everything in your life feels like it's about to slip through your fingers is a really tough call. That's why I came up with a simple system to show you exactly what to prioritize every week on repeat. 

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Start using a time management system that actually works - that you can repeat with ease week after week - and finally helps you balance home and business. 

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