My winning two-list system to get more organised at work

I’m a serial procrastinator.

If there’s a cup of tea to be made, then I’ll gladly go and make it rather than doing what actually needs to be done. But sometime – especially in a work environment, there’s no time for procrastination and you need to get stuff done.

What I want to show you is how I get myself organised as one of the most unorganised people that live on Earth. After all, if I can make it work then anybody can.

My secret is to become obsessed by lists. If I live by the rules of the list, then I get things done. It rules my work-life and I actually get a lot done and on time. Most importantly, it makes me feel in control.

How to get more organised at work using a foolproof 2 list system

The 2-list foolproof system

Now, this isn’t just any list. I’ve tried all sorts of different techniques over the 8 or so years that I’ve been working and it’s taken me all that time to find a system that I can stick to and where things don’t magically fall off with the deadline a distant memory (we’ve all been there).

The reason why it works for me is that I use a 2 list system. Yes, that does sound a bit like more procrastination to write 2 lists… but I’ll show you how it really works for me:

LIST 1: Monthly activities

My first list splits all my activities into weekly lists based on deadlines, covering about a month. I use a page per week to write down everything I need to do in that week. I’ll also add in any meetings scheduled for those weeks as they take time too.

After I’ve created my monthly list I’ll add in any important deadlines and star anything with a high priority for that week. I then transfer it to a daily planner pad that lives on my desk on a weekly basis.

LIST 2: Daily activities

My second list is my daily planner and makes sure that I do the things on the monthly list. This is where the magic happens.

You see, most people will use one or the other, but this can cause problems. Using just a monthly list means that ad-hoc weekly activities are missed, or the list becomes unmanageable with the smaller activities never getting done. On the other hand, using just a weekly planner means that you never see the bigger picture and tasks will fall off the list. Using the two together pretty much makes you a master at organisation with nothing falling down the cracks.

By planning my time every day using the monthly planner as a guide, I can split bigger activities into bite sized pieces to make sure they’re done. Having one big activity on the monthly list can seem daunting… frankly I’ll put it off. But splitting that time into smaller projects helps to move it forward.

When I’ve completed a project, I’ll tick it off both lists. Any new pieces of work that come up through the week are added to the lists to show that they were adhoc. This helps me when reviewing what I did to see why I didn’t get around to something on the bigger list.

Reviewing weekly

At the end of the week, I’ll review my planners and anything left undone will be assessed and will have one of the following actions:

  1. Move it to a different week as a higher priority if it’s getting more urgent
  2. Delegate it (or another task) to a colleague if I haven’t got time
  3. Take it off the list completely if we don’t have resource to do it

When I’m working, I can just take my list at face value and methodically get things done. I don’t have to think about what I should do next, as I’ve already written it down. It saves that procrastination time. I don’t amend the list until I’m in reviewing mode at the end of the week.

If items need moving from my monthly list, I’ll cross it out if I’ve decided to take it off my list (or delegate it), or add an arrow to show that it’s moved to a different week. That way, my monthly list then becomes a log, leaving no activity behind in a given week.

Follow:

29 Comments

  1. Lucy Grace
    January 21, 2017 / 4:54 pm

    Sounds like a good system! I am all about getting more organised this year so may just have to try this 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Kelly Edwards
      January 21, 2017 / 5:06 pm

      Thank you! I hope it works for you x

  2. Kelly
    January 21, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    This is a great idea. I need to start using the two list system! #fortheloveofBLOG

    • Kelly Edwards
      January 21, 2017 / 7:15 pm

      So glad you think so! I hope it’s useful for you x

  3. September 6, 2017 / 7:06 am

    I also use a two list system, one for daily and one for monthly. That way I can see if I’m taking on too many projects. #fortheloveofBLOG

  4. September 6, 2017 / 7:45 am

    I am in the same boat – guilty of procrastination. Although I get a lot of things done, I deviate from my lists. Great post! #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. The Mummy Bubble
    September 6, 2017 / 8:55 am

    I am such a big fan of lists but had never thought of this type of system before! I really need to get organised with my blog and this would really help me make sure I’m getting the important stuff done. Great post x #fortheloveofblog

  6. September 6, 2017 / 10:56 am

    sounds like you have a good plan I never stick to, to do lists somehow they always end up in a book never all done it probably takes me longer making the list and making it pretty! I need to get me a system sorted! #fortheloveofblog

  7. September 6, 2017 / 11:01 am

    Good read! I need to get more organised with my blogging. Feels like time is just flying by at the moment.

  8. September 6, 2017 / 11:22 am

    I’m really impressed by your organisation! I write down and plan almost nothing, relying instead on my ‘brain calendar’. I have a pretty good memory, but it definitely lets me down at times! #fortheloveofBLOG

  9. September 6, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    These are great suggestions. You know, in business I delegate but I rarely think of doing it at home. I need to try that a little more to help manage my schedule better. Thanks!

  10. September 6, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    I have to do lists EVERYWHERE, literally I have about 20 on the go. Two lists is such a better idea and I am so going to try this! #fortheloveofblog

  11. September 6, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Being organised does not come naturally to me, it is something I really have to work at (a bot like being tidy too!). I have so little time so I need to get stuff done when I can. It is always a struggle!! #fortheloveofblog

  12. September 6, 2017 / 8:10 pm

    I run a two list system as well. Love a good list #fortheloveofBLOG

  13. September 6, 2017 / 8:55 pm

    This would be good for kids for high school homework…#FortheloveofBLOG

  14. September 6, 2017 / 8:59 pm

    This is a great system! I have weekly goals & targets and jot down the days AND TIMES (haha) to do them!

  15. September 6, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    That sounds like a good system – I do love writing a list! #fortheloveofblog

  16. September 7, 2017 / 6:41 am

    I am not naturally very organised, and I am so bad at lists, you are inspiring me! #fortheloveofBLOG

  17. September 7, 2017 / 8:56 am

    Oh this has come at exactly the right time for me. I do lists but they turn out to be pretty ineffective.This I think may just crack it!!! #fortheloveofBLOG

  18. September 7, 2017 / 12:13 pm

    Makes sense, I could really do with being more organised! Especially as I’ve just enrolled on a course eeek! x
    #Fortheloveofblog

  19. September 7, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    This linky is the last thing on my list for today and I can’t wait to cross it off – no offence intended! It’s the satisfaction! #fortheloveofblog

  20. September 8, 2017 / 5:49 am

    This is a great system. I work in a similar way with a bullet journal but review at the end of each day and migrate/delegate/cross out anything that didn’t get done then write the next days list. I’ve been a bit lax with it over the holidays and I have suffered for it so this is a great reminder to get back to it x
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  21. September 8, 2017 / 1:55 pm

    This sounds like a great idea. I have so many to do lists around the house, using two like this may mean I actually achieve something!
    #fortheloveofBLOG

  22. September 10, 2017 / 5:13 pm

    This sounds very similar to what I do. Even though I’m no longer at work in the traditional sense, I use a monthly and weekly planner to stay on top of things at home and with the blog too. Great tips. #fortheloveofBLOG

  23. September 10, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    Hi, I am a list person and would be lost without them. I to have a daily, weekly and monthly list and it is so satisfying crossing things off at work and home. I just wish that I did the same with my blogging #fortheloveofBLOG

  24. September 10, 2017 / 8:43 pm

    I love lists! This structure seems so easy to follow (I need to find someone to delegate to!). Thanks for letting me co host this week! #fortheloveofBLOG

  25. September 12, 2017 / 1:38 pm

    I love a list! And actually this makes total sense, and I could apply it to my blog work too.Thanks! #FortheloveofBLOG

  26. September 12, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    This is such a good system. Im the kind of weirdo who has lists for lists! #fortheloveofBLOG

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *