Mayday! Mayday!

The Never-Quite-Under-Control List – Are We All On This Page?

Sponsored by Next Step Goals, LLC
Written by Julie O’Keeffe HenzeyNext Step Goals logo brown letters orange circles 200 wide (2)

Make appointment, replace florescent light, fertilize plants, activate credit card, return boxes, install new battery, buy present, call mom … there are so many things on my “to do” list. What about you?

With my goal coaching background, I’ve got a pretty good handle on managing my time and tasks. And still, the loyal companion of my “to do” list is a low level anxiety.  Read More…Either anxiety settles in when I do something non-work related during work hours (even though I work for myself), when I feel like everything is urgent, or when I’m still chipping away at things at 10 o’clock at night and know I should just stop. When immersed in four to five different major volunteer, work, or home projects at one time, I can feel scattered and tense.

I decided to reduce my stress by transferring both my “to do” list and the framework I use for it from paper to the kitchen magnetic board. The framework lets a person prioritize tasks both by urgency and priority in a four-square matrix. (Thanks, Stephen Covey.) I had been using it in a Word document but had to keep re-printing the document every few days. By wrapping twine around strategically-placed magnets, I created four boxes on my magnetic board. I thought to myself, “I’ll use sticky notes, devote a note to each task, and move them around from square to square as new priorities or urgencies come up.” Brilliant!

Three months later, these are the current occupants of my board: my husband’s class photos from 1st grade, a Christmas card, the grocery list, a diagram of how to install a new three-pronged light switch electrical box, two Wisconsin annual state trail passes, a Lowe’s receipt, an OutPost refund voucher that expires tomorrow (yikes!), along with a Toppers coupon that expired April 28, and one inspirational quote.

Meanwhile, multiple paper “to do” lists and various sticky notes are littered around the dining room and kitchen tables. I even wrote something on the front of a magazine today while I was on the phone!

Clearly I am struggling with finding a sustainable solution. One thing I know for sure: The twine is coming down today.

So please share your ideas on what has or hasn’t worked for you! Or a story. Ever lost your “to do” list and forgotten to walk the neighbor’s dog for a week?? You can scroll down to the “Leave a comment”.

We’re all in this together!

Julie helps women and seniors successfully take action and navigate challenges through her two businesses Next Step Goals LLC and Peace of Mind Transitions LLC. She herself has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and completed 60 sprint triathlons while divorced with two kids.


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