Monday, 23 June 2014

'To Do' Lists

I have had a *really* hard day today.  It was my first day back at work after a fortnight away.  SO many emails.  SO much to do.  SO much sun outside and a temporarily misplaced Nintendo DS that I sold last week and needed to post.  Stressful.  I have been writing 'to do' lists all day long.

As a PA, I rely heavily on my to do lists.  I know that most people use them every single day so they are nothing new but, for me, they are sanity-savers.  We have a fancy system at work where we can log them digitally, track their progress and delegate them to other people (and, of course, there are loads of apps available on my iPhone) but I prefer a good old-fashioned paper diary, a notebook and a few pretty pens. 

I use a black Moleskine weekly planner to log my deadlines, meetings, travel plans and reminders.  I then have a regular black Moleskine notebook (with square lined pages - love!) for lists and notes (and doodles when attending lengthy teleconferences - ssshhh).  I run lists in both the back and the front of the book and methodically tick everything off as I complete it.  This, of course, is my favourite part.

I have five separate lists on the go at any one time: 
  • Urgent things to do (by the end of the day):  Today, for example includes: Complete my Health & Safety training online, rearrange a straight-talking session with our General Manager and carry out a Business Continuity test for our super-busy Payments team.  
  • Things to discuss with my boss:  I support my manager remotely for most of the week as he travels across the UK for his role.  I catch up with him formally once a day over the phone (we text/email in-between where necessary) and then we work together at a local office once a week so that we can chat face to face (and eat chocolate tiffin).   I'm seeing him tomorrow and I have a few things I need to ask him about including some recruitment issues and a forthcoming Glasgow trip.  As issues arise during the day I scribble them down ready for our catch-ups.  He's busy so I have to make sure I am prepared and concise when we speak.
  • Non-urgent but important things to do:  This includes a lot of forward-planning, such as the meetings I'm planning for the next few months, agenda items that I need to remember and HR deadlines that loom towards the end of the financial year.
  • Regular Admin:  I provide admin support to other members of the broader team and so today I've listed reminders for things such as the invoices I need to pay and the two telephone headsets I need to order for our Asset Finance team in Leeds.
  • Personal Admin: The obvious stuff is on my list at the moment like transferring funds from one account to another, booking an eyebrow appt, ordering a repeat prescription and returning two pairs of ill-fitting dungarees.
I put in a good day's work and, even though I haven't finished everything I need to, my head is clear on what I must prioritise.

But I feel flat tonight.  And a little bit teary.  It's the Monday and post-holiday blues combined.  Killer.

After dinner, Andrew and I walked Lizzie through the fields.  We chatty idly about our respective days.  I talked to him about everything that's on my mind. Bemoaned the enormity of my to do lists.  He asked me what would cheer me up (I think he was hoping for something naughty…. I told him I fancied a shower and a film).  

I don't feel as though I am getting the balance right with my personal life.  I spend too much time on social media sites and not enough time actually doing the things I love.  After a lot of chatting and daydreaming, it occurred to me that a fun to do list might be just what I need to get my mind focused on the things I really enjoy.  Ensure that I get the happy stuff done too. 

Love dressmaking.  This is a comfy linen dress in my fave C&R print, Catherine Rose.
Lynda and I were talking about diaries/stationery when we met on Saturday.  Lynda uses the same type of planner that I do but has one for work and one for - get this - craft stuff.  She clearly planted a seed in my mind.  I've been online and bought a large 'Peanuts' Moleskine planner.  When it arrives I will enjoy filling it in with my social engagements.  I will use it for lists of the books I want to read, the films I want to see and the things I want to make.  I will use it for blog post ideas, my writing goals and the fairs that I will be doing with Claireybelle for homebird & belle*.  

Love walks, road trips, mini breaks and holidays with my man. I'm going to fit more of those into my spare time.  
I am also going to schedule 'social media' time so that I steer well away during the time when I need to be most productive, whether that's at work or at home.  I feel much better for using my work skills to my advantage for fun stuff, and I feel better knowing that I will be formalising my personal goals.  I am certain that will make them more likely to happen.  

Thanks for reading. If you've got any top tips you could impart regarding 
self-organisation and self-motivation I would love to hear them. 

Have a fantastic week! 




*more on homebird & belle later, but I'm very excited to be doing something I love with someone who has the ability to make me belly laugh on a daily basis.


  1. Oh gorge, I'm sorry you're feeling flat. Tomorrow you will be waited on, fed, watered and you will belly laugh! There's not a soul that I'd rather go into business with, my friend and I'm so excited for us!

    See you tomorrow xxxx

    Just realised I'm signed in as Miss. Ha ha.

  2. Ah, holiday blues are a sack of cack, man I always cry when a good holiday is over so I feel your pain.
    I left all social media last year other than my blog which I only now update once a month and I tweet once in a blue moon.
    leaving IG and Facebook made me happier than ever. I no longer faff around seeing everyone copying each other on IG and I feel happy because I am pleasing myself any my family, not a load of online peeps.

  3. Bloody ipad won't let me change errors...... I meant I am only pleasing myself AND my family.
    I also love not having to rely on praising comments to get me through my day. IG is good in some respects but not for me.....we are all overloaded with technology.
    I love that pic of you and Drew. I write lists, I am a Virgo!

  4. I've been using the Bullet Journal method and it's really helped me.

  5. I'm always writing lists, Nicki, I couldn't get by without them. Sorry your feeling flat after your holidays,its always the same,isn't it,getting back into routine :( looking forward to hearing more about homebird & belle,so


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