Tag Archives: time management

to do lists

Why I’m done with To DO lists

That’s it the last straw I’m done with to do lists.

Take shopping online.  

My husband use to love to do the weekly food shop (unbelievable, I know) now he does it all online.to do lists

The problem is that it now involves me sitting with him and selecting what we want,  before I could just give him a list and tell him to get on with it.

He would go on Friday after taking the kids to school get his coffee and maybe some breakfast followed by the weekly shopping and it was lovely.

Now the food list has to be done no later than Wednesday to make sure we hit the delivery schedule for Friday morning and frankly I can’t be doing with thinking about food after a day at the office and a round of evening meals.

I like to keep a shopping list as I go and write things down as they come to me or when I remember to check in the cupboard to see what items we need.

What’s the difference says Mr M all you need to do is to order it instead of writing it down?

to do listsI’m asked or rather ordered to interact with the shopping order and then my mind goes completely blank, I lose interest by the time we get to toiletries and I sit there fidgeting.

This then involves opening the various cupboards aimlessly trying to work out what we really need.

Last week consisted of twelve pots of Waitrose jam that happened to be on special offer, nothing to do with me and probably enough toilet rolls to fill an entire school.

What went wrong? Well it’s easy. When Mr M does the shopping online he does tend to get a bit carried away, sometimes hitting the quantity button 2-3 times.

Last week we almost ended up with 5KG of fish that’s enough to feed a restaurant until I pointed this out to him.

‘Please just go and do the shopping the normal way like you use to do’, I plead with him.

‘No, I don’t have the time’ comes back the response, ‘but what did you use to do before online shopping then?

With all this extra time what are you filling this so called void with now?’

I hate the fact that my shopping is scheduled for delivery on Friday’s between 8-9 I can’t even think about facing the unpacking of the weekly shop let alone be friendly with Mr Chatty delivery man.

Having to plan what we are going to eat the following week is a horrendous experience for me as the weekly shop.

‘I never seem to get what I want’ I exclaim ‘that’s because you can’t be bothered to get involved with the shopping order like I keep asking you too!’

A-ha is that what you call get involved, is this your attempt at doing something ‘together’ I say because I bemoaned the other night that we never do anything ‘together’ anymore.

Shopping online wasn’t what I had in mind.

‘The reason you don’t get what you want is because you don’t add to the list’ he tells me, but it’s not the same as actually going to the shops, up and down the aisles and seeing items that remind you, oh, I need that or yes, I’ve run out of that.

Online shopping is designed for those who suffer with memory loss you remember what you need and then as soon as you go online you forget what it was you wanted.

Which leads me very nicely back to to lists.

I’ve read the ‘Get things done’ books, how to manage your life in three simple steps, how to have it all?to do lists

In fact as we speak I’m reading “Getting things done. How to achieve stress free productivity” by David Allen the guru of all gurus in learning how to really get things done and not started, half finished or seems like a good idea but never gets off the ground. 

I’ve had it on the kindle app and never got around to reading it.
Which just proves my point about not getting things done.

For some reason I decided to start reading it whilst waiting for the kids at school the other day.

All my half hearted attempts at trying to create more time to do more of what I want to do.

And then I had one of those a-ha moments, I stopped in my tracks and thought this is it, this is the absolute last time I am going to be controlled by other people’s actions, by time, the kids, the school run or anything.

I didn’t want to start another school term or school year for that matter having that sheer panic feeling in the pit of my stomach because I feel I never get things done to use Allen’s words.

When I took a closer look at some of the outstanding things to do it was laughable some of them went back as far as 2013?

I read some of the tasks out loud it was so insanely daft that it didn’t justify being on the to do list after all.

Allen says that if you have all these ideas, tasks, worries floating around in your head they stress and wear you down, we can only remember two or three things at once which along with all the other stuff just means our conscious mind is at bursting point, feeling distracted worried and anxious with mental overload.

By committing these actions into some kind of system or onto paper he says we then need to take action otherwise they stay there in your head festering or on that bit of paper and nothing gets done.to do lists

I took a closer look at the three sets of to do lists – personal, work and projects and shredded the lot.

The relief I felt was amazing I knew that I could then start again in the right frame of mind.

I took a plain sheet of paper and thought of all the things that needed doing and in no particular order from personal stuff, things I really wanted to do, work tasks, random thoughts and ideas were written down on the blank piece of paper.

When I finished the list I then went back through it and actioned each one.

This took me all of one day to complete most of these tasks were simple, like getting my filing up to date, updating our CRM, responding to emails that weren’t urgent but were important, to things like clean the bottom of my shoe cupboard which I’ve now added to my google calendar on a set date so it gets done.

I felt so much better that by the end of Thursday, the stress had gone and I felt like I’d really achieved something.

Anything new that comes in I think about what needs to be done with it and then deal with it so it’s off my desk or email whereas before I would just jump on it and react I now think more calmly – what needs to be done with this and is it important?

Sometimes you need to slow down to go faster.


I feel calmer since the start of term and more in control I’m finding fifteen minutes a day to do some sketching, doodling and drawing and I don’t feel panicky if I leave the office and things haven’t been done.

And something amazing happened I’m actually getting more things done, I’m still trying to figure that one out.

I’m not sure how long this is going to last but, I’ll keep you posted.


Exhausted, zoned out. Where did september go?

Stuck in a time warp
Trapped in some kind of time warp. Boom where did September go?

Ever get the feeling you’ve been trapped in some other time zone?

You know what I mean the one where you think whoa I feel I’ve done this or been here before?

That is a exactly what September was like for me.

Stuck in what seemed to be a kind of time warp? Going through the motions but not really ‘there’.

Bizarrely, I can recollect the 4th September, the start of a new school year, taking my boys into school on their first day back and then BOOM I woke up and it was October.

What happened? Where did the month go?

Can I have it again please? Errr, no sorry it’s gone, what da ya mean it’s gone? It’s over, September 2013 is officially complete, finished, done!

Phew. I’m exhausted already and with a only a few days left to go to another half-term I’m pondering where the last seven weeks have gone.

I know I’m not alone when I express my thoughts on this subject but somehow both mind and world have been very fuzzy.

Feeling exhausted, I’ve been checked for a hyperactive thyroid, diabetes and cholesterol under the guise of the ‘you’re almost 50′ time for the mid-life medical check up endorsed by the incumbent government.

This was me this morning, well almost!
This was me this morning, well almost!

I never have a need to visit the doctor with a complaint or ailment which makes me high risk for not being checked for potential stroke, high blood pressure and whatever else the medics can conjure up.

I’m good to go and very fit for my age. Oh how I love that expression.

From your teenage years right through to old age any trip to the doctor invariably ends up with the G.P. commenting, ‘well it is your age’.

What I am really suffering (if that is the right word) with is multi-tasking deficiency.

Life is a sprint
Life is a sprint

It’s the back to school routine you know the one, it dominates our lives male or female, mother or father, single parent or married parent and then we are suppose to fit work into the school routine.

Shouldn’t it be the other way round?

Schools clearly think we have nothing better to do when they decide the same day to schedule an event or to change an activity last thing. Obviously we don’t have a life we are suppose to live it around the school.

I recently came upon the idea of trading in my beloved six year old VW transporter for a fully fledged all singing and dancing caravan.

Easy, park it outside the school gates boys can fall out of it in the morning go straight to lessons and after school come back to the caravan do homework, eat, shower go to bed.

Still, don’t suppose the traffic warden would appreciate the blot on the landscape nor the local residents come to think of it.

Could work though.

Then there’d be none of the rushing around, car bashing, tooth slaying and punches that precede the entry into the school car park where grown women literally fight to get ahead on that ever shrinking five foot of tarmac they call the school entrance.

What is it with these non working women anyway do they really think pushing in gets them through the school gates and back home any quicker?

Up until about five years ago I had it all figured out I was pretty damn good at juggling any number of things, look at the logo at the top of the page of this website that says it all about me and probably half the working parents in the UK.

Multi juggler extraordinaire that was me.

Now I have to write e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g down. 

I love my gizmos and apps but I have my filofax on hand to write things down so I dont forget.

In fact I’ve been known to write things I need to get from upstairs before I actually make the trip. Because you can bet your bottom dollar by the time I get upstairs you guessed it, I’ve forgotten what it was I went up there for in the first place. 

I certainly can’t manage more than two tasks, let alone spin too many plates in the air all at once.

What has happened why has it all gone to hell?

Too bogged down in life, work, school routine. I’ve fallen off the time management wagon.

Fallen off the time management wagon never mind the booze!
Fallen off the time management wagon never mind the booze!

So much for me spouting off in this blog here about the wonders of time management and me daring to tell you what I do when I can’t even manage it myself.

I am full of c**p sometimes but I mean well.

What have I done to get control back in to my life again?

Still working on it but I’ve gone back to using my diary and time manager p-r-o-p-e-r-l-y and stick to what I need to get done by when and so far it seems to be working.

I’m definitely calmer and more organised.

Somehow I was seduced by the long hot summer and the how it would feel if I never had to work again dream...

Yes you are of course right DREAM ON…

How was your start to the new school year?

Tell me what you’ve been doing to stay on the straight and narrow?

Share your ideas on what does or doesn’t work for you.

Until next time.

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