05 October 2011

There Aren't Enough Hours in the Day

Or days in the week...or weeks in the month...or months in the year. So we're trying to make better use of our time. We obviously have no shortage of tasks on our mental to-do list (as I mentioned when I wrote this outside to-do post in July), but we're not the best at time management, and it helps to have a written list to refer to. And since we've found that the weather plays a part in what we can do when, we divided it into inside and outside tasks...and since we've been trying to make better use of even small slices of time, we also divided it into small, medium, and big tasks. And that's how this ended up on the refrigerator:

(If you're wondering, the "bunny box" at issue in the second bullet point in the "small/in" box isn't the litter box. We have no problem addressing that when necessary. It's the toy box where we store some of their things...and it's a mess.)

Now, when we have a spare few minutes in the evening or whenever, we can just look at that first box and find something relatively easy to get done and, more importantly, cross of the list. We add new items to the paper list as we think of them and print up a new list every week or two (reusing paper that's already been printed on the other side, of course). But I leave the crossed-off items on the new list for a little while to savor the feeling. (Doesn't everyone do that?)

I've been amazed at how much we can get done in tiny snippets of time...but so far, everything has been from the "small" column. After everything we did this spring, it's still hard to imagine finding the time or willpower to take on another big project. But I realized that the list can help with that, too.

See, every item in the "Big" column is really just a series of mediums, and every Medium is just a series of smalls. Take the mudroom cubbies, for example.

We want to elevate the cubbies so we can store shoes under them, and attach it to the wall so it's built-in. Big, daunting project, right? Certainly nothing that we could do in an evening, or even a week of evenings. But that one item in the "Big" column can be rewritten as medium tasks...

...each of which can be further broken down into smalls:

Not so daunting. We're still working on tackling small projects (which I deleted from the mock-up above so it would be easier to see the cubby project tasks), but it's easier to imagine tiptoeing back into a big project this way (although, with the weather finally reliably under 100, it's likely that our next big project will be outside).

In the meantime, I've wrapped up a handful of small projects that have actually made a decent impact around the house, so while we're waiting for the "Hooray for free electricity!" post, I'll share some of the highlights. So, uh, buckle your seat belt.

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