When you hear list, what do you think of?  Do you think of a giant list of projects that you need to complete?  Do you think of a “honey-do” list that is sitting on the counter or hanging on the fridge?  Do you think of your grocery list and all the items you need to buy at the store?  What about all the errands and housework you need to accomplish?  Do you have a list for that?

Well, there are many ways to generate an effective list to for getting your day organized.  There is no right or wrong way to CREATE an effective list, but there are wrong ways to USE an effective list.  Just because you wrote down that you need to accomplish, doesn’t mean it will get completed.  Today, I am sharing with you ways to use lists effectively to get your day organized.  Use these tips to create a system that will work for you.  Not all these tips will work for everyone, so find the tips you know you can follow-through with, and begin to create an effective way to organize your day!

Planner Clip With Pencils

List Types:

Since there are so many ways to generate lists, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to create lists to keep your day organized.

  • One big, giant master list of everything in your life you need to accomplish
  • Specific categories lists (example: home, work, personal, family, etc.)
  • Calendar reminders (example: set a reminder that you need to have said project completed by this date)
  • Break down the tasks based on day, week, month, quarter, year and plan accordingly
  • Pick top 3 and only focus on those listed

Whatever way works best for you is how you should generate you lists.  There really is no right way to do this.  The only wrong way of making lists, is you not following through on whatever list-making task you decided for yourself.  So find a way that works for you and get to work!


I have found that I need multiple lists for each week.  This has helped keep our family and myself organized.  I have a list for work, a list for home projects/tasks, and a list for “me” (make phone calls/emails/errands/etc.).

Then, each list is then broken down into subcategories based on what I will accomplish that week.  I have my must-do for the week, my may-do for the week, and my eventually list for the week.  This helps me prioritize my tasks at hand.  I try to do all the must-do lists first, then the may-do list, then, if there is time, the eventually list.  Prioritizing my lists keeps me focused on what needs to get done first.  It also helps me complete those tasks quickly so I can get to my may-do list, because my may-do list has been a lot of fun projects I want to complete.


An effective way to organize is to keep things color-coded.  Each family member has a specific color.  I record all of their activities in that specific color in our family calendar and my planners.  This way I don’t have to write their names on anything because I know what color each family member is.  I talked more about how I color-code our family’s schedules back in August.  This system has keep our family organized for two years and counting!

In each of my lists, I color-code to-do items based on my must-do, may-do, and eventually list.  My must-do’s are written in red.  My may-do’s are written in orange. While, my eventually list is written in grey.

When I started color-coding everything, I would make a reference sheet to go in my planner and on the calendar.  I also used masking tape flags and attached them to the top of the pens.  I wrote on each flag what the color represented.  Now, I don’t need the flags on each pen anymore, but I still make the reference sheet so the rest of my family will know what is going on!

Break It Down:

Breaking down each individual task into smaller, more manageable tasks, has actually been proven to increase your productivity.  So, I write every little detail of anything I need to accomplish.  If I have to go to the grocery store, it goes on my “me” list.  If I have to do laundry, it goes on my home list (but I break down each task: wash, dry, fold, put away).  If I have to go to workout class because my sanity depends on it, well, it might go on a few lists to make sure I do that!

Ta-Da Lists:

Every time I complete the task, I get to cross it off and celebrate a little!  I know it is kind of funny to think about, but instead of focusing on everything else that is left to do on your list, try to celebrate completing that one task.  By doing this a few times, you will get in the habit of finding the good in completing small tasks.  I call it my “ta-da” list.  This list helps me focus on all that I have accomplished during the day.  I write little things, like getting ready before both kids wake up, or drinking all my coffee before it got cold.  I also write down other things that may not have been on my list, like remembered to drop off dry cleaning, or threw away dead flowers that have sat on the counter for a few days.  This list really helps me focus on the positives for the day.  Then, at night, when I record my daily gratitude for the day, I am able to recollect all the positive events that took place during the day.


To get your day organized, create effective list(s), break into subcategories, color-code, break-down tasks, and celebrate your accomplishments!  Now I am not saying you need to do all of this, as this method might not be the most effective way for you to get organized.  Not all these tips will work for everyone, so find the tips you know you can follow-through with, and begin to create an effective way to organize your day!  You can also check out my Etsy shop for more printables and notepads to keep you organized!

The Organized Mama