Why I Stopped Writing To Do Lists


Good Morning!

I’m excited to continue my Work Life and Mom Life series in 2017 and look forward to continuing to share my story as a working Mom. If there are any topics you’re interested in hearing more about, please send the ideas my way!

I spent a lot of time in 2016 building out routines that work for me and my family. As the year ended, I couldn’t help but feel that I finally found the balance I’ve been looking for the past several years. Ironically, I have more on my plate than ever and I think finding this balance was because I had to. Nevertheless, the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some things that have been working for me. (no pun intended…)

Today I’m sharing the main thing that has helped me be more mindful with my time at work the past few months. I’ve made a considerate effort to keep my work within the 9-5 hours over that past year and consequentially I’m getting more done in less time. This has forced me to have systems in place that allow me to get stuff done and this is one of them.

It may surprise you, but I stopped writing to-do lists and started doing this instead.Instead of writing to-do lists, I’ve started to block out the time I need to accomplish each task. For me, this has become the best way to make sure I’m accomplish everything that I absolutely need to get done during work hours and it prevents me from having to spend extra time which takes away from precious time with my family.

I spend about 30 minutes each week figuring out what’s really urgent. Instead of having one long, running to-do list I have a weekly update that I send to my boss each week with progress reports on each project that I’m working on. I do this partially because it’s something that we do at my company but also because it allows me to check in and make sure I’m making progress on each.

From there, I take a look at my week and figure out any meeting prep that needs to happen. After that I have a good idea of what I need to accomplish between my projects and meetings and most importantly when these things need to happen. Each task goes on the calendar and I block time for each to make sure they get done in time.

This helps me prioritize my week but also acts as a way to protect my time. And it works! It allows me to get the things I need to get done in the time I have allotted to me. It helps me leave work at work and be able to leave on time to get home to my family.

What’s one thing you’ve changed this year in the way you work? What’s one way you work smarter and not harder?


  1. I’m so glad you’ve found your groove and don’t have to “take work home” or stay late. When I was working, this would have been SO helpful to me. My to do list was always so long at my last job. The problem was that if I did block out time, lots of people still interrupted me because I was the office’s “go-to” person (and was treated like a doormat!).

    I think this concept would even work really well for me as a SAHM, but sometimes it’s hard to stick to it since I can’t always count on nap time or having the energy for something at night (that’s a big struggle right now!). It’s all just about being flexible though!

  2. That’s a great idea! I am not sure I can do without my to-do list, but I’m loving your reasoning behind it! I think finding your groove and figuring out how to be as efficient as possible is key to being a working mom! Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day haha

  3. I do a combo – I block time if there are things I can’t get done today, and write my to-do list of items to tackle that are not on my calendar. I enjoy checking off the small things like “send this email” or “check in with client” while still ensuring I have time for the important work. So very similar to you!

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