To Do List

What’s on your To Do list?

We’ve had lots of family fun on our To Do list this past weekend. College girl was home for a visit and it was opening weekend of the high school musical for my other daughter so we were busy, busy!

Over the years I have tried dozens of different types of time management systems, my shelves are lined with dozens of different books on time management and I’ve had lots of different daytimers/To Do lists!

Today I want to share with you what I currently use, in its very plain and simple form.  I hope you are not too disappointed!

I am a lover of paper, as antiquated as that may seem in this increasingly “paper less” society we live in.

I do not like electronic gadgets for keeping track of my life.  I like to do it the old fashion way – with paper and pen!

My current system is a combination of things I learned while reading Getting Things Done by David Allen.

Last year I used a simple, but cheerful, red Moleskin notebook

notebook (2)

I love the size that fits easily into my purse (5 x 8″.)  The elastic strap that wraps around it keeps it all together.  It is well used and well worn and full!  This last week I realized I was reaching the last few pages and it was time for a new one.

I figured if I must have a notebook to keep track of my life it mine as well be a pretty one!

So this weekend while college girl and I were doing a little shopping we stopped into one of my favorite stores, full of pretty things – Anthropologie.  I found this pretty little notebook – perfect for my next To Do list.


My To Do list is pretty simple.  I just divide each page into four sections – Errands, To Call, Computer and To Do.


Errands -list of places I need to go – bank, dry cleaner, pharmacy, Target etc. and the things I need to pick up there.

To Call– calls that need to be made during the week.  I include personal as well as calls I need to make for my homebased business.  Calls such as scheduling doctor’s appointments, haircuts, etc.

Computer– this list is anything and everything I need to do while at the computer.  Emails that need to be sent,  bills to be paid,  lots of things for my homebased busness, etc.  You’ll be amazed how long this list can become.  It is usually my longest list.

To Do – this includes projects and just about anything else that doesn’t fall into the other 3 categories. Items such as writing thank you notes, organizing photos, scrapbook project, cleaning out a closet etc.

Each Sunday evening I sit down and make up my To Do list for the coming week.  I look back at last weeks list and carry forward anything that didn’t get crossed off and add new things.  Of course things get added throughout the week too.

By the end of the week my list is pretty messy – hopefully with lots of lines through things!

notebook (1)

If the list just gets too messy or crowded I will rewrite the list midweek.

I use the page opposite of the To Do list to write down phone messages, ideas or thoughts I have or hear during the week, menu planning ideas, blog ideas etc.

What time management system do you use?  What do you use to keep track of your life, your To Do’s??  Please share!

Leigh Anne
Hi – I’m Leigh Anne! I have been a homebased mom for 30 years since my first baby boy was born! I love working with women and helping to inspire them to achieve their goals and dreams while still maintaining motherhood and family as their number one priority. I blog about everything I enjoy – creating treats and meals in my kitchen, spending time in my garden, entertaining and party planning, reading, self improvement and tips and ideas on style and fashion.
Leigh Anne
Leigh Anne

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  1. candace says

    this is about how my to do list also looks. im also a big fan of paper. i love to make lists. i make lists of everything and when the task is finished i always stroke it out. feels like i have acomplished more that way! was just curious as to what your home based business is. i have recently started my own business and am looking for some great tips on organizing receipts, etc for income tax time :)

  2. Tamara Reber says

    I have been a fan of the Franklin Planner for the past 15 plus years. I always have my planner with me and make lists of things to do each night for the next day. It also houses my journal, so it is always available for me. I have not gotten into putting the items on my phone or other electroci devices. I get great satisfaction from checking off things.

  3. says

    I LOVE to-do lists, too! And I LOVED reading David Allen’s book (and when I say “read” I mean listen to the audio book on my Ipod… I love to multitask.) I have felt very caught between the digital and paper side of life. I LOVE paper, too, but I have SO many to-do’s (137 currently in my task list) that it took up too much space on paper, and got too tiresome to write them over and over again with the start of a new week. I also found that since I didn’t use a notebook like you, Leigh Anne, the papers would always get lost and I felt like I never knew whether or not I was getting done everything I had committed to do! (Like David says… the only way you will feel good about what you are not doing is if you KNOW what you are not doing.) I have found a system that works PERFECTLY for me…

  4. says

    Sorry, my post was getting so long that I decided to divide it up. :o) I use Outlook for my to-do list. That way I can sort by category with the click of my mouse (i.e. when I’m wearing my “direct sales hat” I can just look at that list) or sort by location (i.e. things to do at my computer or things to do while I am running errands or calls to make when I’m at a phone). It also keeps track of when I completed each item (there’s a little check mark box I get to click as soon as one is complete). I can look back at that list if I want to see how much I got done that day. That is just the tip of the iceberg with what Outlook To-Do list can do…

  5. says

    The best part is that it syncs with my Phone (Palm Treo) so I still have my to-do list with me every where I go, and when I commit to call or email someone, I WRITE IT DOWN immediately on my digital list so that I definitely won’t forget! Nothing and no one falls through the cracks anymore. It is to-do list heaven.

  6. says

    There is one thing I do like about paper to-do lists, though. A friend taught me that she likes to highlight items as she completes them instead of crossing them out, because then you can still read all of the great things you accomplished that week. One more great thing about having my to-do list digitally is that I can add both future to-do’s (things that I need to do but not this week) and/or recurring to-do’s (things that I do on a weekly or monthly basis that I don’t want to forget the due-date of, but I don’t want to write down over again every week). OK… I am SO SORRY that I have written a novel! I just get so excited that I have finally found a system that works for me! Thanks for letting me share, Leigh Anne!

  7. says

    I’m with you!!! I love paper! I write everything out in one big long list. I like you method though, my list gets intimidating sometimes. Breaking it apart would make things easier to tackle. Thanks for the tips!

  8. says

    I rotate around for what I use for my to do lists, but right now I am using paper, a calendar, and a web based program, Printable Checklist. This program is quite easy to use, and just keeps my to do list looking organized and not too messy.

    I actually just wrote about using Printable Checklist in my newsletter, the URL for which is below. (If you are interested scroll down through the newsletter close to the bottom for the part about the online to do list).

  9. says

    I’m a paper girl too, Leigh Anne. So I always have a pretty notebook on hand. I have a running To-Do list that I keep from the BACK of the notebook. The front of the notebook is where I take notes in meetings, write or draw out ideas, etc. When the two ends meet in the middle – it’s time to go shopping for a pretty new book. (Also, I send emails to myself from my blackberry for urgent things that I need to have “in my face” because I’m at my computer during most of the day – so I see it all day long.)

  10. says

    I love making lists too! I usually make mine on any random paper I can find. I especially like sticky notes, because I can stick ’em somewhere I can see all day, like the fridge.
    I tend to lose my lists though, or forget to bring them when I run out to do my errands.

    I’m really liking your system….I may need to become more organized and adopt a new notebook!
    Thanks for the great tips!

  11. Kim says

    I have started getting those cheap but cute paper journals at Ross or TJ Maxx and just add lists to those. Fun to carry with you!

    Also, I keep one of those in my room so if I hear a great tip on TV or read in a magazine…I can store in there instead of having many pieces of paper hanging around.

    At the dollar store, they also sell pads that have a two week calendar on them…helpful with daily tasks and planning meals.

  12. says

    Rachel Jensen »

    Thank you for sharing. I can feel your excitement for you system through your words! That is the beautify of time management systems – there are so many choices available and everyone can find something that works for them. So glad you have a system that really works for you – you wear ALOT of different hats and having a system that helps you keep track of all of them is worth it’s weight in gold!!!

    Love the idea of highlighting instead of crossing out! I love to go back and look at everything I have completed too!!

  13. Shelli says

    Yup—a simple notebook works best for me too! I’ve tried Day Timers and appointment calendars but I’ve found that a simple notebook holds everything I want and need in one place. I can create the compartments and types of lists I prefer, rather than relying on pre-made ones that don’t meet my needs.

  14. says

    I love my to do list! I make a new one every day. It’s just on a sheet of paper that’s 8.5 x 5.5 The top part has all my scheduled things to do and the bottom part is just a running list of things that need to be done sometime that day. I don’t have a notebook for my to do list, just single sheets of paper, so that I can fold it up and put it in my pocket (so it doesn’t get lost).

    I have read David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” and really liked it. I do have a notebook for my long term list and goals.

    I also use Flylady’s system of having a daily and weekly schedule. Her website is The website isn’t the best, but her concept is great.

    I have a Palm Pilot for all my contacts and future “to do” items, but a paper list works best for me on a daily basis.

  15. Teri says

    I will NEVER give up paper. I have a love affair with it that stems from many hobbies and interests. I appreciate the different textures, styles, color…forget digital for me! Altho’ I live with 6 MEN and digital is their preferred choice, so I do have both at my fingertips. It’s nice to reference. Even tho’ my two oldest are in college classes, they are in a distance study program through extension services so I am still lucky enough to have all 5 home. I have just recently started “making” them sit down with me weekly in order to coordinate our schedules and the things that everyone has going on so that we are in “sync.” We have always had a version of this, but lately, it’s had to be fine tuned. Again, as Leigh Anne said, that’s the beauty of YOUR system…it works for YOU!
    I have a BEAUTIFUL stationary store quite close to me that is off the charts for paper and paper products. One of the things that has been a treasured find is momAgenda. It is an AMAZING book planner for moms. They have a website and you can sign up for a newsletter there as well. It’s a sassy book with every possible holiday worldwide, websites for moms and families, two satin ribbons to mark your place, and one in the back to hold in a little booklet called “momEssentials.” This holds anniversaries, birthdays, birthstones and flowers, important phone numbers, medical information, a phone directory of numbers you’d like while out and about, a page for vehicle info, etc. When the year is over, you just move the momEssentials to your new year by sliding out from under the ribbon! WOW! But the BEST part….is that not only does each month have an “At a Glance page” but the dailies all across the top are for mom and the bottom half that parallels it is set up for 4 kids across the same week! I can look and see what my kids have going ( my two littlest share a slot) at a glance! It is amazing! Leave it to a woman and mom to come up with this! It also has a nice daily quote at the top of each week as well. Check it out! You won’t be sorry! I can’t live without mine now…there is also room for notes, etc. Yet the whole thing is very compact.
    Love the idea about highlighting rather than crossing out!
    Remember the great pen that Sherra Humphreys shared at It has the post it tabs in the top. Well, now they have one that is half pen, half highlighter with the tabs. This is great for this idea and allows you to tab something in your book that you need to reference later.
    Sorry so long! ;0)

  16. Sarah says

    I laughed when I saw the picture of your red notebook, as I did when I saw it in person recently. So glad you found a beautiful one to replace it. The red worn one looks more like me than you. :o)

  17. says

    I really, really love paper, too, however I recently converted! My husband bought me a Palm Pilot for Christmas 2007. I sort of shunned the idea at first. I never trusted those things not to lose all of my information at the first sight of a failed battery. However, I’m sold now. I synchronize my computer and my Palm all the time so the latest information is in both places. I make sure to keep the battery charged. I no longer carry my giant Daytimer. I carry my tiny Palm Pilot and it’s got EVERYTHING in it! I will NOT go back to paper. I’m a true convert. I can’t believe it took me so long to find such a great system!

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