A Season of Chaos
Earlier this summer I (Clari) was about ready to call it quits with this whole intentional living thing. We had moved to a new town, went through weeks of delayed home renovations, dealt with the whole family getting sick, travelled a bunch, and then came back to a place that felt anything like home. All our normal rhythms that we had built in our old home to sustain our daily habits and responsibilities had fallen apart, and I just didn't even know where to begin to pick up the pieces.
Every time I had a spurt of energy to do something about my situation, I found myself contemplating the chaos without a clue as to where I should begin.
About that same time, a dear friend text me requesting tips on how to best maximize her Evergreen planner and I couldn't decide if I should just laugh or cry. There I was as a co-owner of a company who sells a planner that is supposed to make intentional living intuitive and I couldn't get my life in order. She had asked me how I was using my planner, and the truth was I was hardly using it at all. Like all my habits, the habit of daily planning had fallen to the wayside after so many months of not having a lot of control over my days (anyone who has gone through a slew of home rennovations knows precisely what I'm talking about here).
Taming My To-Do List
So I let the text sit there for about 24 hours until I could come up with a response that was both honest, but would also help and encourage my friend in her own time-management journey. And suddenly I remembered that Shelby (co-owner & creator of the Evergreen Planner), had written an amazing resource titled Taming Your To-Do List. I knew that's exactly what my friend needed. And as I typed out that text, I realized that it was also exactly what I needed. Not even bothering to search for it among the many files on my computer, I went straight to our website and downloaded the guide.
Over the next few evenings, I worked on brainstorming and brain-dumping lists, until I could pinpoint the precise pain points I was experiencing. I followed the prompts in the guide and sorted my lists until I had clear action steps and knew which items on my to-do list weren't causing stress, and therefore weren't urgent and could be saved for a less chaotic season. In a matter of days I had clarity on what items needed my focus first, how to re-build our rhythms, and which of our remaining house projects should take top priority. Then I started using my planner to really plan our days again, working out our rhythms and fitting in items from my sorted to-do list where they made sense.
The Difference it Makes
It's incredible how different I feel today compared to how I felt then. We still have so many house projects left to do, and I rarely feel like I get everything done that I'd like to. But those things don't get me down at all. I have absolute peace about what should take top priority, and am again able to easily pivot my to-do items when we hit the normal ups and downs of daily life. Our rhythms are back on track, and they enable me to spend more energy tackling bigger projects and less figuring out what we're going to eat for breakfast or when I'm going to get dressed today.
The truth is, we all go through chaotic seasons like the one I have described here. A move, a job change, having a baby, getting sick, or any other number of things can throw us into a season of chaos that feels impossible to bring ourselves out of. If that's where you are today, take a deep breath and let the shame and guilt roll away. We've all been there. And then do what I did, and go download the Taming Your To-Do List Guide.
If you have an Evergreen planner, it works seamlessly with our system. If you don't, this guide includes free planner pages you can print at home. Work through the guide page by page, and let it refresh you and help you clarify and tackle your biggest pain points so you can get back to the things that matter most to you.
The Taming Your To-Do List Guide
This guide will teach you the rest of the steps you need to sort your massive todo list into an effective plan of action—using the Evergreen Planner.
This PDF even includes a bonus printable version of the Evergreen Planner so that anyone can follow along and finally get organized.
With this guide, you will...
- Prep your planner (or free planner pages) for maximum effectiveness
- Declutter your brain with a massive braindump
- Sort, purge and prioritize your todo list
- Timeblock your tasks into the context of your existing schedule
- Learn how to select top-targets so you can make progress every day without burning out