I have always been a list maker. I LOVE lists. I love having notebooks in which to write my lists. Some people like to use their smartphones for this. I do that, too, but only after I’ve worked out my list on paper. I think and process things better if I’ve got a piece of paper that I can write all over. Lists make me so happy, but one of the dangers of a habitual list-making is when I have too many lists in too many different places. It’s like I need a list of lists! Not really, but kind of.
I am also a creature of habit. I know we all are, but I really crave the simplicity of a routine. Routines are simplified by creating habits. Every year when I help my mom decorate for Christmas, I put the same decorations in the same place every year. My family likes to make fun of me for this, but it’s a habit that I’ve grown accustomed to! In reality, they always know who to ask if they can’t remember where something goes (ahem). Similarly, if you create a habit of going running every morning, after a while, you will automatically reach for your running shoes when you wake up in the morning.
Since school is no longer a part of my life, my days of driving from one place to another back to back have pretty much ceased. Sure, I still have days where I have lots of errands crammed in, but on the whole, my life is normalizing quite wonderfully. I work every week day from 7am to 12pm, but my husband doesn’t get home until close to 5pm. That’s a lot of time to where I’m left to my own devices! Sometimes I’ll take an afternoon nap, and occasionally I spend the afternoon in front of the TV (while tackling an organizing project), but as a creature of habit who wants to do more than just sit around day after day, I’ve started a new daily routine.
Each morning (or the night before), I print out a daily docket. I found a free printable from Money Saving Mom. I could use a blank notebook, but I like the structure of this one with spaces for an inspirational quote or mantra, a to do list, the top 3 most important to do items, a basic schedule for the day, dinner plans, a place to keep track of healthy habits, and a space to jot down notes that come to mind throughout the day.
The first thing I do is write down what the dinner plan is. That way I know if I need to set out any meat to defrost. Today was a crock pot meal, so I set everything up before I left for work. I noted the items I still needed from the grocery store.
Next, I look through my daily docket from the day before. Is there anything I didn’t accomplish? Is there anything I want/need to do again today? I import these items onto my to do list for the day.
After that, I fill in the rest of my to do list for the day, including any meetings or appointments that I have. I put a star next to the top three most important items for my day and write those in “today’s MITs” (most important to-dos).
Then I’ll make a list of upcoming blog posts I want to be working on. I make sure to check my old daily dockets for any ideas I may have missed.
I take the time to jot down a quote or mantra for the day. Sometimes it’s something I find on Pinterest, and sometimes it’s just a cheesy motivational line for myself.
I’ll put everything together in a basic schedule for the day. I write down my other to do items in my schedule because otherwise, I may not do them. This way I see them three times!
Finally, I’ll jot down notes to myself throughout the day. In this case, my husband mentioned he needed more deodorant, so I made a note of it for when I went out to run errands today. Sometimes I’ll use this section to jot down a grocery list or just random things that I’ll probably need to add to my docket for the next day.
It’s not perfect, nor am I. But for now, this system is working for me really well. It satisfies my crazy compulsiveness to make lists, and it provides an avenue for habits to become a routine.
Do you plan out your day in advance? Do you use paper and pencil or your smartphone? Tell me in a comment!