Instant CE certificate!
Buy courses for 2
renewal cycles. Complete
some now & some later.
Buy 2 Courses
and Get 25% off
the Total price!
Buy 3 Courses
and Get 30% off
the Total price!
Buy 4 Courses
and Get 35% off
the Total price!

(M-F 9:30-9:00 Eastern)
Voice Mail: 925-391-0363

Questions? 800.667.7745; Voice Mail: 925-391-0363
Add To Cart

Section 19
Making Time for Alzheimer's & Low-Functioning...
by Using a To-Do List - Part 3
How to Make Your Daily Task List Magically Manageable

Table of Contents

The key to making your Daily Task List work for you is to keep it manageable.  Do you agree?  While your obvious goal is to complete all your tasks in that day, it may not always be possible to do so, as you are all too well aware. So don’t beat yourself up over it if tasks are left undone at the end of your work day. However, by having a To-Do List and a Daily Task List you now have a better grasp on what you have done and where you need to start tomorrow. Remember, you can almost always roll a task over till tomorrow without drastic repercussions.  Setting priorities for the next day becomes the key.

•  Keeping Your Daily Task List Manageable!   Your Daily Task List is really your short-list of priorities from your To-Do List.  As mentioned earlier, these are compiled from your To-Do List and from tasks that arise during the day. If your day is dominated by breaking events, your Daily Task List might consist partly of tasks from your To-Do List and partly of tasks that were never on the To-Do List, but came up today.  I am sure as a busy Activity Director you can relate to this.  Right? 

   The proportion items transferred from your To-do List and items that were just added directly to your Daily Task List, of course, will change from day to day.  But your Daily Task List ideally is short enough to be accomplished during your work day at the facility.  I find if my Daily Task List for the day contains more than ten items, I feel overwhelmed.  By keeping your Daily Task List to about ten or under, you may avoid feeling overwhelmed, which is helpful because being overwhelmed may end up with you procrastinating on everything.  Sound familiar?  Of course, at Christmas time this Daily Task List of Ten rule usually goes out the window, and becomes a Daily Task List of about thirty.  So what do you do?

•   Break up larger tasks.  As mentioned earlier, just as a reminder, to avoid feeling overwhelmed, break up large tasks into smaller bits.  If you are behind on writing Progress Notes, consider starting with A wing and concentrate on those residents who need Progress Notes written, then B wing, and so on.  Break the task into smaller parts.  Or you might start with the residents who are on your Care Plan Conference list for the week.  Somehow break the task down in order to avoid creating a potential procrastination block.  Another term for this process is "particalize and prioritize."

•   Unsure of where to start?   Try creating "priority groups."  Instead of trying to line up priorities from 1 through 10, which can stop you from listing tasks at all, sort tasks into “priority groups."  Rather than giving each task on your Daily Task List a number 1 through 10, place a number 1 by all of your urgent or most immediate tasks, a  number 2 by all of the mediums, and number 3 by your routine tasks.  The next section of this Manual will deal with setting priorities in more detail, if you feel that will be beneficial to you. 

But for now write below some times from your Daily Task List then place a 1, 2, or 3 in front of each to indicate urgent, medium, and routine tasks.

Priority Group

Daily Task List









•   Cross each task off your Daily Task List as you complete it.  What a feeling of accomplishment!  See if you don't feel that it is true fun to cross completed tasks off!  Right?  I have even completed tasks that were not on my Daily Task List, then added them to my List; then crossed them off immediately to receive the emotional elevation felt by triumphantly drawing my pencil or pen across the page from left to right, crossing the item off with a large smile on my face.  For those not crossed off of your Daily Task List?  You, of course, roll over any unfinished tasks to tomorrow’s Daily Task List via an arrow to the next day on your Calendar or rewrite them at the end of the day.
Three ways to organize your Daily Task List
The way you organize your Daily Task List depends on you. Here are three ways to do it.
1. Free-form. Don’t “organize” at all. Just list tasks randomly that need to be done each day.
Or organize your tasks...
2. By content. Group tasks on your Daily Task List by the following, or some other grouping that is helpful to you:
            --subject matter (everything about Care Plans),
            --location (All residents on A wing), or   
            --person (volunteers or suppliers).
3. Functionally. Group by similarity of task—for example,
            --all telephone calls,
            --e-mails to be written, and
            --errands to be run.
Clearly, on some days you might use a combination of the above on your Daily Task List

To get started look at the tasks on your Daily Task List combining 2 and 3 by grouping tasks by content and functionality.  For example, group all of your documentation tasks together, then resident activities, then calls and e-mails, then errands, and finally, if there is a particular person you need to talk to, list them.  By organizing your day this way, you group, for example, all of your calls and e-mails to be done at the same time. 

You probably are already grouping tasks, but the point is to be more conscious of your
"grouping" process and evaluate if your grouping of tasks can be improved upon.

Oh… oh, what about procrastination?  Oops, the "p" word, procrastination…  When there’s a Daily Task List item you never get around to, there is hope… Consider the following. J
•   Tackle the worst first, and clear the decks of your most disliked or dreaded task. You might consider working with the resident who is the most challenging for you, for whatever personal reason you may have, first.  When you are planning a major event, consider talking to the department member you are the most uncomfortable around first, then work your way through to your favorite department member at the end of your day or week. You may feel less stress and can look forward to doing the more pleasant tasks later, if you decide to use this method of getting past procrastination by tackling the worst first.  

Below write what is currently a task on your Daily Task List or your To-Do List that you consider your "worst task."


Or here's a thought…
•   Can someone else do it? If so, delegate. See our CD course dealing with “Time Saving Tips” for information regarding creative delegation to staff and volunteers, as well as mastering your procrastination.

Below write a task you can delegate and to whom.


•   Is it really that important? Re-evaluate the undone tasks.  Maybe it is important, but maybe it isn’t. Evaluate why you have committed yourself to doing this task, and if your reasons aren’t good ones, cross it off your list for good.  Hey, sounds good to me!  But be careful, of course, and don't take this "throwing your hands up in the air" approach too lightly. Below write a task you have on your Daily Task List or To-Do List that really does not need to be done, if there is one.


•   And for those dreaded tasks that just won’t quit nagging on your conscience: This is a great one!  Write on slips of paper the miserable jobs you’ve been putting off (like “Documentation,” “cleaning your Activity Closet,” etc.) and then write down several fun activities for yourself as a reward (“Go to the movies,” “Read the latest issue of  Creative Forecasting,” “Go for a walk,” take the long-way when driving home, you know, the route past the park, nice houses, or whatever you consider a reward).  Now… use a 3-to-1 ratio.  By 3-to-1, I mean the ratio of pain to pleasure.  You might even make a game of it.  Write your rewards on slips of paper.  Put your slips of paper in a bowl, and a couple of times a week draw one. Make a deal with yourself that for every three "dreaded tasks" that you accomplish, you get to pull one slip from your Reward Bowl.  Just a thought! 

To get started, below write three rewards you might give yourself for completing a "dreaded task."

My reward for doing a task I have been dreading…




If you are not feeling highly motivated to implement any of the preceding ideas, think again!.  The Implementation of Culture Change requires cooperation from other departments.  You are requesting schedule changes, transporting, and doing activities.  In order to make these requests and provide training for other staff, the more professional and organized you present yourself, the more likely the other department heads, therapists, CNAs, etc. are to treat you with respect and take your Culture Change requests seriously.  Agree?  So I suggest you strongly consider rereading the preceding section more than once.  Sift through it to find the ideas you need to implement.

Forward to Section 20
Back to Section 18

Table of Contents