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A To-Do List is a necessary evil for every working Mom. Writing everything down not only helps me to appear more organized, it also makes me feel accomplished when I get to check items off as completed.
[Confession time: sometimes I add items to the list that I know I’ll remember to do anyway, just to get the satisfaction of crossing another thing off. “Feed the cat” is my new favorite cheat]

I have a love-hate relationship with my list. If I lie down to sleep and find my thoughts spinning, grabbing a pen and adding those things to the list helps me relax.  On the other hand, acknowledging the very existence of a list of things I have to do but have not yet done can be a real buzz-kill. 

As if being tied to a never ending list isn’t self-deprecating enough, I also have to deal with the things that get transferred from list to list. In my system, I make a new list when the small notebook sized paper I use gets full.  Out of necessity, my new list always starts off with a few carry-overs from the last list. The carry-overs are a nagging reminder that I’m not a Super Heroine with the ability to bend time, space, or dimension.  (Now that is a fantasy worthy of seeing another day…) I don’t like to come face to face with my limitations, so I definitely have more work to do in order to make peace with this.



We all appreciate time-savers and things that help us get one thing done so we can get on to the next thing faster.  I’d like to share some things I have in place right now that are really helping me get things done:

1 – Teachers who use email: I am lucky enough to have both my kids’ teachers at the other end of my email.  They are quick to respond and we can exchange information much easier than waiting for notes to ride the bus in a backpack, which may or may not make it to the box on the teacher’s desk.  I also find that email is much easier for them than phone calls.

2 – Online Bill Pay:  Every month this modern miracle saves me about an hour of time and several dollars in stamps.  In fact it probably saves me even more $ now that I’m not late for payments anymore.  Aside from all that it makes me feel good knowing I’m doing a routine task in an eco-friendly way.

3 – Smartphone:  I was reluctant to be tied to my email via my mobile phone, but with it came paperless calendar scheduling.  I bit the bullet on Jan. 1 and ditched my paper calendar with a bit of skepticism and hesitation.  It has turned out to be one of the best moves I made this year.  Google calendar reminds me when I have appointments, and emails me a daily agenda every morning at 5 am.  With my Blackberry I can schedule meetings while I am talking with someone on the phone. I’ve even changed my mind about the evils of taking email everywhere I go.  I save a lot of time by reading and responding to email when I am stuck in waiting rooms and long lines.

4 –WiFi + Laptop:  This has two levels of goodness:  home WiFi and public hotspots.  At home, I no longer have to withdraw from the pulse of the family and the house in order to write, research, or update my social media sites.  I can supervise the “sharing” of the Wii while sitting on the couch with laptop on my lap.  I use local hotspots to take my office on the go with me while I am waiting for karate practice to end, or head to Starbucks to make productive use of an hour in between appointments in town.

5 – Pre-populate/mass production of forms:  There are a wide variety of forms that I have to complete repeatedly.  School bus passes, health insurance reimbursement account claims, summer camp registration are just a few.  I’ve learned to identify the forms I use regularly.  I fill out the section that does not change, then make copies of the form for later customization and use.  It sounds silly but it works well for many things.

Now it’s your turn.  What do you do that saves time or makes your life a little less chaotic?  I’d love to learn some new tricks.  Thanks in advance for your contributions.


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Michelle St. Onge

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