If you’re not a planner nerd like I am, you may not care what the difference is. But there is a difference and it’s important!
Routines are things you do regularly without really thinking about it. For example, every day when I get up, I make my bed. It’s not on my to-do list – it’s just something I do. Then I go into the bathroom and get ready for the day. Again, not on my to-do list. I just do it. Here are some other things I do that are “routines”:
1. Brush my teeth;
2. Open the curtains;
3. Feed the dog;
4. Refill the bird feeder;
5. Dump the trash when it’s full;
6. Check my email;
7. Turn on the security alarm when I leave or go to bed.
You get the idea. Routines are automatic. Sometimes they’re written down but most of the time they’re not. They tend to be the same most days. And if you have good routines in place, those routines can make life go a little easier.
Checklists are lists of things you need to do but you might not remember to do. I have my daily planner page set up with a checklist of my daily responsibilities. It’s not the same as a to-do list because they aren’t necessarily things that HAVE to be done everyday. I try to get as many of them done as possible but my world won’t come crashing down if I don’t get them all done everyday. However, life goes better when I get most of them done most of the time.
Checklists are usually written down. They’re used for things that are done once or things that are done regularly. Some people have a babysitter checklist. Some have a grocery store checklist. Some have a travel checklist. The checklist is designed to remind you of things you need to do that you might otherwise forget.
To-Do Lists are almost always written down. They tend to be different each day. And they’re things you intend to do or need to do. If you don’t finish an item on your list, you usually move it forward to another day.
Utilizing each of these different tools can make your life better. For example, if you’re familiar with Fly Lady, you know that she strongly advocates the use of routines. When you join her program, you make a morning routine, afternoon routine and evening routine. Those routines streamline your life, eliminate decision-making (because the tasks become automatic), and keep your ducks in a row. Good routines are important for everyone but especially for people who struggle with organization or have ADHD/ADD.
Checklists prevent you from re-inventing the wheel. If you do something over and over – like travel, for example – why make a new list every time you take a trip. Make a list of what you need to pack and what you need to do every time you travel. Then each time you take a trip, print off a list and start checking things off. Using the list will decrease the likelihood that you’ll forget something. The list does the remembering – you just do what it says.
To-Do Lists are pretty self-explanatory. Everyone uses them in some form or another. They can be on post-it notes, scratch paper, in your smart phone, or in your paper planner (my preference).
So take a look at your life and see how you could benefit from routines, checklists and to-do lists.
Did you know there’s more to HomemakersDaily than just the daily blog posts? Like the HomemakersDaily Facebook page and you’ll also get daily tips posted every afternoon. Tips are also posted on Twitter if you would prefer to follow us there.