Friday Faves: Effective List Making Systems

It’s Friday!  School starts for teachers in ONE WEEK!!!  As I think about school starting, I am also thinking about my blog and how I will keep up with it during the year, so I’m going to change up how I do Friday Faves.  Instead of simply choosing my five favorite reads of the week, I am going to choose my favorite saved reads in certain categories.  (Hopefully I will eventually get requests from you for what you’d like to see more of!)

This week, for example, I am focusing on the general idea of productivity.  I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for ways to be more productive, which is why my Pocket App is filled with productivity ideas.  I have spent all summer doing a lot of things but not feeling very productive.  Actually, I have probably spent most of my life doing this, but the articles below have some great techniques for making effective to do lists so that I can actually be productive rather than just busy.

Below you will read five different articles with tips for making lists and being more effective.  They won’t all work for you, but I hope you find at least one that does!

articles productivity

To Create a Better To Do List, Try This Technique from

(I love this site–it’s not an education site, but it’s worth checking out) Boogaard explains that she prioritizes her tasks so that she actually accomplishes something, rather than just appearing to be busy.  This reminds me of techniques I’ve learned from Angela Watson in her 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club. I have found that my to do lists are a bit more useful now that I follow a method similar to this.  I like that the author of this article explains the pros and cons of this list making system.  This is a great article for a how-to of the specific list-making process.

Overwhelmed? Do 5 Things from Cult of Pedagogy

If you’ve ever read one of my Friday Faves posts, you’ve probably seen that I’m a bit obsessed with Cult of Pedagogy.  I always find great information on Jennifer’s site, and I love this 5 Things idea, especially for organizing my big goals for the year.  I’ve used this method for the past two years to process my big ideas for the year (16/17 and 17/18).  This method helps you deal with that overwhelming feeling of having a million things to do by instead focusing on just five things.  While I haven’t gotten very good at using this method in my day-to-day life, I have found that narrowing my focus for the year makes me feel much less overwhelmed.  (Now to stick to those five things…)  This article is another good explanation of a specific system.

How to Take Back your Time in Just Five Simple Steps from Living Well, Spending Less

If you don’t follow this blog, you should.  They have a ton of great tips for, well, living well and spending less. (Who would’ve guessed?!).  This article gives you five tips (and a couple books and posts to read) for prioritizing and becoming more productive, which include listing priorities, figuring out what isn’t essential and getting rid of those things, setting goals, and changing your habits.  This is a great article for big picture thinking: how can I adjust the way I plan to make myself more productive?  Check it out!

The Simple To-Do List System One of the World’s Richest Men Swore By from

This article explains the system that Charles Schwab used to get things done–and since he was one of the richest men in the world at the time, I’m guessing he was pretty darn productive.  His system encourages NOT multitasking–wait, what?–but instead doing the most important thing each day.  This system is similar to the first two ideas before, but it’s short, simple, and definitely easy to implement.  (Also, check out Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work, to read more about not multitasking and instead focusing on real, important things–blog post covering all the books I read this summer coming soon!)

Lists to Make When You’re Overwhelmed from Layered Indulgence

I love to make lists.  I mean I love it! I make pro/con lists for just about every decision. I make to do lists, big and small. I make lists for the groceries, for the new school year, for what we need for our new house.  I just love lists.  And I love this article because, wait for it…it’s a list of lists!!!  It’s like List Inception! Anyways, since lists help us achieve our goals and feel less overwhelmed, Kate made a list of the types of lists you should use regularly to keep your life in order.  Lists such as books to read, home improvements to make, groceries to buy, meals you want to try.  It’s not a new concept, but a few on this list sparked ideas for new lists I might add to my planner!


Well folks, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a bit anxious because school starts next Friday.  I’ve started a new planning system for school, I still have to get my instructional coaching organizational system figured out, and we’ll be moving twice in the first two months of school, so think I might have a whole notebook dedicated to that.  I’m excited to put some of the ideas presented in these articles into use.

Let me know what other topics you’d like me to curate articles for–I’d love to put together resources lists for you!


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