Gold Stars & To Do Lists

In an attempt to accomplish all of my accumulating “Somedays” as well as the regular imagesday-to-day stuff that needs to be done (cleaning, bookkeeping, errands, cooking, etc.) I’ve been searching for little ways to improve my productivity and keep myself on track.  I’ve come up with two that seem to be working:  gold stars and a To-Do list.

Remember gold stars from grade school?  When you’d accomplished a task or exhibited a good behavior you got to put a gold star on the chart.  I specifically remember the reading chart.  Students names were listed down the left-hand side of a large paper and numbers were written across the top.  Each time a student finished a book and filled out a little form about the book, she got to place a gold star next to her name.  Some people didn’t read at all and had few gold stars.  I read voraciously and had stars across the page.  I loved the gold star system.  So, I made up my own little chart with a few of the daily activities I want to be doing:  writing, drumming, stretching, meditating, etc.  Every time I accomplish one of these activities, I get a gold star.  It sounds juvenile, but that’s okay.  I don’t mind acting like a kid now and then.

In addition to these daily activities, there’s also all the other stuff that must be done – bring in the To-Do list.  The list I found has two columns:  To Do Now and To Do Later.  I’m using the To Do Now list for the little things needing to be done around the house, like pay the bills, hang the mirror, finish the laundry, clean the whole frigging house (okay, some of the items aren’t “little”).  The To Do Later list has items that I want to remember to do at some point in time:  call a window cleaner, file papers, organize garage.

I’m getting gold stars on several lines, but not so many on some others.  I’m also checking off To-Do list items right and left (literally right and left, from both the “now” and “later” sides of the paper).  The problem is, I’m not really prioritizing what I’m doing.  There are some things that are not negotiable.  For instance, my daily walk/run has to happen or my four dogs become unruly, bills must be paid or my credit will suffer, grocery shopping must occur or we don’t eat.  However, other activities too easily get left to drift out of my awareness, if not off the list.

So, there you have it:  I love my gold stars, I’m crashing through my To-Do list, but I still need to prioritize!

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