Organising My Thoughts

Organising My Thoughts

Do you write lists?

Making lists not only organises my thoughts, reduces anxiety, improves focus & memory but also helps gain clarity on what is most important in my life right now.

I, Suellen, keep a notepad on our fridge, in the office/study, on my bedside table … and even a waterproof notepad in the shower (for some reason great ideas come to me in shower!! I’m not the only one right??).

I have come to learn & appreciate that I need to write lists of my goals & to-do’s, because, whilst I do enjoy a little spontaneity, if I fly by the seat of my pants for too long, I get flustered, anxious, forgetful, irrational … completely overwhelmed!

This was me these past school holidays…a little too much spontaneity and not enough routine.

School is now back, so I’ve picked up a pen (actually it was my pacer – who else uses a pacer? – aren’t they great!) and began getting all my thoughts from my head, on to paper, ready to action and it has made a huge difference … I’m even sleeping better!

Give it a go! – Organise Your Thoughts in 4 steps!

STEP ONE: Find a pen, notepad / diary / sheet of paper – it can be lined, blank, coloured or plain – whatever works for you!

STEP TWO: For the next couple of days, write down whatever pops into your head.

Anything … from tasks you didn’t get done today;

  • what you need to buy from the supermarket;
  • clean gutters/chimney;
  • polish shoes;
  • pick up a parcel;
  • make a medical appointment;
  • possible business networking opportunities;
  • drop donations to charity;
  • bucket-list holiday ideas;
  • pay electricity account;
  • ordering a new part for the lawnmower;
  • buy birthday gift

STEP THREE: (this next step is quite detailed, so I have broken it down into categories)
Now that you have a list…it could be 5 things, it could be a couple of pages!…it’s time to make sense of them by categorising. 

  • Firstly decide which tasks are URGENT, that need to be actioned within the next 7 days…marking them with a ‘U’ or a red *asterisk.
    By ‘urgent’ I mean it has a deadline of sorts – (an assignment/work proposal is due Friday – your friends party is on the weekend and you need to buy the gift – pay electricity account – a sun spot is growing and needs to get checked … this to me is urgent!)  

  • Which items can you DELEGATE? Mark these with a ‘D’ or another coloured *asterisk.
    This is a big one!! Many of us think we can/should do it all…but life is too short for additional overwhelm! 
    Where possible, give a family member some tasks especially around the home;
    could you have your groceries delivered;
    maybe co-workers can help start sections of the proposal or work with you on an assignment. 
    They may not do the job to your level, but the job will at least started – and the more you delegate to them, the more confident they will become.

  • Now let’s look at tasks that are IMPORTANT, marking these with an ‘I’ or another coloured *asterisk
    The ‘Important’ category can be a tricky one to decipher…afterall, if something is important shouldn’t I be doing it now!? 
    To me, important tasks are those that will make a difference in my day-to-day living but are not necessarily ‘urgent’. 
    Tasks that need to be completed in due course but not before urgent tasks…like getting your car serviced – yes it is definitely important but most of the time it can wait an extra few weeks.

  • You should now only have items on your list that are for future reference/notes that you want to keep, like holiday ideas, hobby research projects, recipe ideas etc.
    These can be kept but they don’t have to be front & center. Consider placing these ideas into a folder called Future Reference or Ideas Folder.

If you do have any items left now, my question to you would be “do you really need to action them…could they be deleted from the list so you can focus on other tasks?”

Weekly Planner on Tablet

STEP FOUR: Now it’s time to TAKE ACTION!
Schedule time in your days ahead to begin working through your Urgent tasks.
Not sure where to start? Looking at your Urgent list, what desperately needs to be done today? What can be done tomorrow, or can one or two wait until Friday morning?
You may need to do a small amount of one task each day…like the assignment / proposal – you don’t want to leave it all to the day before it’s due.
Keep in mind that depending on how time consuming each task is, you may only get to one Urgent task in the day.


  • MY ‘urgent’ might not be someone else’s urgent – so we have to understand that when we ask a colleague or family member to do something, it may not get done by our deadline…unless we have given them enough notice with a due date.
  • Each day will be different…urgent matters pop up all the time! What is on the top of our list today, may not get completed because an even more pressing matter arises. For example, our car unexpectedly breaks down; a project deadline has been brought forward; a family emergency requires our full attention.
  • In these times of unexpected urgent matters, we need to remind yourself to take a deep breath, communicate any changes with our family/team if need be and when time permits, come back to amend our list to gain clarity to move forward.

I really hope this helps reduce the overwhelming feeling in those times when you feel like you are on a hamster wheel, unable to find a way off.

Wishing you a productive day!

Suellen (Blue Lilac – creating organised spaces)