I love writing things down. I love making lists. Lists and organization are a very important part of a miser-mom lifestyle.
One of the most important things that lists do for me is to help keep things neat (and out-of-sight), while still allowing me to not freak out about forgetting them. Here's an example: my office desk. Like many people, I used to have many different stacks of paper; a new important piece of paper would come in, and I would put it in its own place on the desk so I wouldn't forget I had that important thing to do.
The problems are obvious. When I was at my busiest, my desk was full of stacks of paper. I didn't have much space to work; there was a lot of visual distraction; important papers got lost anyway.
Now I make one single stack on the bookshelf of all those important "to do" pieces of paper, and I make a small list of what is in that stack. The small list stays on my desk, and I can easily read that list to see if there's something urgent. In my busiest times, I can let that stack grow, doing only the most immediate tasks; but in calmer times I can work my way through the list-and-stack, making a new (and shorter) list when the old list gets too cluttered.
Here's an example of a "to do" list, each of which has a paper or magazine in my stack.
- Call dentist
- Write to a former student who got married.
- Fill out a form for my boss.
- Read a brochure and see if I want to file it or toss it.
The list is short because it's summer (I'm not uber-busy right now). It also uses verbs (things I should do), not nouns, which help me to think about doing something about those pieces of paper.