I loved binge-watching all 8 episodes of “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix while on vacation. Each of her families worked hard, learned a lot and ended up pleased with their decluttered spaces. The process brought them together and helped them get clear on which things mattered.
Could the KonMari Process be applied to our To Do Lists? Can we spark joy decluttering what we need to do and create time for what really matters to us? I think so.
Declutter Your To Do List By Category
Marie instructs her clients to declutter by category: clothes, books, papers, konmono (miscellany) and sentimental items. Dividing the tidying task breaks it into more manageable, smaller parts.
When we divide our To Do List into healthy, wealthy and wise pillars, each with three parts, it is easier to declutter one part at a time:
- Healthy: Finance, Food, Health (mental and physical)
- Wealthy: Home, Jobs, Keeping (computers, clothes, cell phones, library books and others)
- Wise: Learning, Legacy (partner, parenting, family and friends), and Virtues.
Put Your To Do List on Google Keep Sorted by Part
I use the Google Keep App on my phone to capture my tasks. I created 9 notes labeled with each of the nine parts: Finance Tasks, Food Tasks, Health Tasks, etc. I pinned them to the top of Keep and added To Do’s using the checkbox feature.
- It’s easy to arrange tasks in priority order.
- I add phone numbers if needed and can easily dial them by tapping on the number.
- If there are subtasks, I indent them under the main task.
- If the task is just an idea of something I might do, I put [Someday/Maybe] in front of it, so I can tell at a glance that it isn’t urgent.
I arrange the tasks in priority order before taking the next step.
How to decide what’s a priority?
This is the uncomfortable part that yields all the benefits. So hang in here with me.
The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of our satisfaction in life comes from 20% of activities. Reliably doing those activities that Spark Joy will help us feel more satisfied with our lives.
Since our objective is really to manage our energy, not our time, let’s start by identifying those tasks that add and those that subtract joy.
Take your task lists and add a + or – sign next to each one. Then look at those tasks with a – sign and ask yourself, these questions:
- Could you stop doing it?
- Could you do it less well (so it wouldn’t take as much time)?
- Does this need to be done by me? Who else could do it?
- Could it be batched with similar tasks, assigned to a block of time, and done once a week?
What would take those tasks from a – to a +?
But everything on my list needs to be done.
Could it be possible that you expect too much of yourself? In her speech at Wanderlust, “Do Less to Have More”, Kate Northrup asserts that working moms have been taught that our value equals our production. We really need to question how we spend our time. We must take this step seriously.
Kate highlights Bonnie Ware’s post, “Regrets of the Dying,” of 5 lessons from those nearing the end of their life. The first 2 regrets stop me in my tracks.
- I wish I had lived a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
Identify the tasks that Spark Joy in your life and make them a priority.
Put Your Joy Sparklers On Your Calendar
But first, block out your free time. For example, I stop working everyday at 5:30 and don’t work on weekends. Well, I do read articles and books related to work, but I don’t produce anything during my free time.
Next, block non-negotiable time as recurring events including when you shop, cook, eat, exercise, take a shower, make meals, do laundry, clean, have appointments and take kids somewhere.
Notice how much time you really have available each week. It’s not as much as you thought, right?!? No wonder you feel crazy-busy.
Finally, decide how much time each Joy Sparkler Task deserves and assign them to recurring time blocks on your calendar.
If you don’t know how much time the task will take, schedule one hour. Do what you can in that hour, then do more the next hour you get.
Work Your Plan and Tweek
Next week, stick to your plan as closely as you can.
Note when you don’t.
- Notice what interrupted your plan.
- Were you doing something else that Sparks Joy? If so, add it to the schedule.
- Keep doing your Joy Sparkler Tasks each week. See if you can get into a routine.
Constant adjustments are part of life.
Aim for Progress, Not Perfection.
Give it a try. Take time to schedule your Joy Sparklers and make them happen. I know you can add Joy to your life by decluttering your To Do List.
Let me know how it works! Comment below or send me an email to Lynn@LynnCDavison.com.