I confess.

I’m a list person. If it’s not on my list, I don’t do it.

It’s a way for me to stay focused on my priorities.

It’s also a way to avoid impulsive buying when shopping.

But more importantly, there’s a sense of satisfaction when I cross items off my list.

Staying Organized

With my hectic lifestyle, it’s crucial to stay organized.

I have lists of things I need to do for all areas of my life – business, personal, and community work.

For my business, my list includes tasks ranging from general administration to client work. On my list are items such as updating my website, prepping for client meetings, and attending webinars for continuing education.

My personal lists include home projects, maintenance, and repairs. It also includes items I need to purchase for myself or for the household.

Each organization I volunteer at has a list. It reminds me of commitments I need to do before the next meeting or event.

From Day Planner to App

Back in the day before smartphones, I used to keep my lists in a day planner.

It was a large bulky notebook, which, at times, was cumbersome to walk with, especially when shopping.

Now, I use an app (Evernote) for my multiple lists. In this way, it’s easy to access on my cell, tablet, or laptop.

There are other apps that help you stay organized – this one works best for my needs.

Doable and Specific

Over the years, I’ve learned to keep items on my list doable and specific.

Instead of writing “paint guest room,” I’ve broken that task into smaller steps: pick a paint color, purchase tools, prep room, paint.

In this way, I can tackle each step on separate days or combine steps depending on my available time.

New Approach

Like many people, I have things on my list that have moved to the bottom as other priorities move to the top.

I also have tasks I dread doing. These items stay at the bottom of my list.

After looking at the same tasks at the bottom of my list for several years, I decided to try a new approach.

I printed out my list and cut each task into strips. I folded each strip and placed them in a box.

Every week, I pull out a strip from my box. I now have to complete that task during the week.

This change may sound silly, but it forces me to take care of the items at the bottom of my list.

As life becomes more busy, how do you stay organized? Do you use lists or another method?

Are you writing your lists, or do you use an app?

Whichever method you use, evaluate its effectiveness. Try a new approach if you find yourself looking at the same list of tasks year after year.

A few more weeks are left to make 2023 your best year ever!

(Update to original post from October 27, 2016)


Niv Persaud, CFP®, CDFA®, RICP®, is a Managing Director at Transition Planning & Guidance, LLC. Life is more than money. It’s about living the lifestyle you want and can afford. For that reason, Niv consults with clients on money, life, and work. Her approach capitalizes on techniques she learned throughout her career, including as a management consultant, executive recruiter, and financial advisor. Her services include developing  comprehensive financial plans, divorce financial reviews, and retirement plans. Niv actively gives back to her community through her volunteer efforts. She believes in living life to the fullest by cherishing friendships, enjoying the beauty of nature and laughing often — even at herself. Her favorite quote is by Erma Bombeck, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me.’”