Tackling Big Lists

Most folks have a number of things on their to-do lists every single day, me included. Lately I've been really trying to jump into things, get a lot of work done and push through before school starts. Everyone has a different way of plotting things out, but I thought I might share what's worked for me more recently. 

First of all, I'd just like to say that pretty paper, pens, pencils, and post-it's actually do help make this process more fun. Just a thought. 

You can use these tips for organizing your home life or work life, school work or just one big job or project for a week, six weeks, a month or just three days--whatever you want! 

  1. I take a legal pad out and write down general categories. These can be classes you're prepping or taking, home life (chores, bills, correspondence, calendar events), or just areas of your life (work, home, personal). 
  2. Jot down everything that needs to get done in your given time frame for each category. 
  3. Open up your calendar for your time frame and look to see when those items need to be done and assign each one a "due date." 

Now you're armed with the master list--a huge collection of what needs to get done when. Here comes the best part. I know it seems like a lot, sometimes seeing it all can be a bit overwhelming, but I promise this will help. 

There are two options: 

  1. Take that list and reference every day. Write down a sticky note all you need to get done ONE day at a time. I like to do this the night before so when I wake up and open my planner, it's already laid out, no surprises. You can do it that morning over a cup of coffee. But it's just a small list to help move you forward. OR, option #2: 
  2. Plan out every day from now to your final due date. Every day gets a list that you can follow that whole time. I like to re-evaluate as I go whether that's at the start of a new week (If I've planned out a month or two weeks) and adjust what I need from there. 
Penny is totally into planning...

Penny is totally into planning...

People find their own systems, color coding, hi-lighting, online calendars, whatever works for you, honestly! Check it off, scratch it out, mark all of that stuff until you see nothing but a finished list. There is truly so much satisfaction is marking off completed things, am I right?

Sure, Mom...

Sure, Mom...

This system works for me. It not only helps me see the big picture of what's got to be done, it's helps me tackle it one bite at a time. You know that old saying, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

I love her little face, my summer book of to-do's and reminders! 

I love her little face, my summer book of to-do's and reminders! 

Well, that's how I take one bite at a time. Doesn't mean I don't get stressed, or still get a little panicky when I'm feeling behind, but it allows me to map out a plan, take a breath, and get stuff done! 

Big List Breakdowns (10 of 10).jpg

What are your best tips for plotting out to-do's?


Easy as Pie

The wonders of technology make some tasks so much easier these days! Earlier this week I had a bowl full of a cherries and perfect occasion for celebration.

Cherries + celebration = Pie! 

Only problem is my pie dough skills are pretty par for the course. It's a running joke that pie crust and rice are just about the two things I simply can't make without some sort of struggle. I refuse to use store bought dough. Easy though it may be, I just don't think it's that great in taste. 

Determined to have a better pie crust experience, I called up the master baker of my family, aka Mom, and asked for a facetime tutorial. Best. Idea. Ever. Propping up the iPad, we made a pie crust together where I could see what the dough was supposed to look like step by step. It was super helpful to have her walk me through the steps--who would have thought pie dough could be so intimidating? With a little help, it all came out great!

The best part of it all, besides the stellar crust of course, was getting to spend a little time with my mom. Maybe I can't stand in the kitchen and bake right beside her, but using helpful tools like facetime makes me at least feel like  I'm a little closer to home. 


A few tips to make the pie baking process easier for anyone!

Cherry Pitter - If you want an easy time pitting fresh cherries, I suggest investing in one of these babies. I've used it just to eat fresh cherries without spitting out the seeds and for a cherry pie, it sure did make it easier to make the filling. 

  • $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond 
Image from Bed Bath & Beyond website. Click for more info. 

Image from Bed Bath & Beyond website. Click for more info. 

Pie Crust Roller - If you really want an easy way to make a pie crust a perfect circle, check out this pie crust bag. This little handy dandy tool makes it super easy to pop out the perfect pie crust in no time. Simply flour the inside, place the dough in, zip it up, roll it around, and that's what it's all about! 

  • $6.95 at King Arthur Flour (there are plenty of other places to find these, too!)
Image from King Arthur Flour website. Click for more info. 

Image from King Arthur Flour website. Click for more info.