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What do you do when your task list explodes


I have to admit…my task list has fallen apart. It started out strong in October as I started to write out my “shit to do before the end of the year” list and by early November it exploded.

Between opening registration for 30 Days of Lists, making sure I didn’t have any pending items on my desk at work before heading out to Joshua Tree and Vancouver, moving, and taking on an additional freelance client, my well-intentioned task list and accompanying timeline have fallen to bits.

But you know what?

I have three things that help me get enough things done.

Kristin’s “what can I finish in 2 minutes?” advice

I remember skimming through Kristin’s post and seeing, “Whether you’re replying to an email or trying to cross off a chore, if it can be done in two minutes, do it. Don’t put it off. ” and knowing that I needed to add that to my toolbox. Usually, I go by Ali Edwards’ thought of, “What’s due next?” but when it comes to those shorts gaps in schedule (waiting to get picked up by a friend, letting my frozen pizza cool down a bit before diving in…) the 2 minute rule is a great way to keep me from focusing too much on larger projects that will take a long time to finish.

My favorite task app: Clear

While Trello is a super helpful app that I use fairly often, when I need a super bare-bones app to help me stay on track I go straight to Clear. The gradient coloring helps me visually see the most important tasks for me to tackle and it is easy for me to rearrange the tasks, as needed. After I make my lists, I am able to remove some items that can wait until after I get my ducks in a row and can focus on less important things (like ordering photos for Project Life. Honestly, that can wait)…Find an app or system (like a simple list on your fridge) works for you and tweak as you go.

A playlist to keep things moving

One of the days for the Spark ecourse is partially dedicated to creating a playlist to have on in the background while you work…I encourage the Spark participants to make sure the playlist they are creating is about an hour long and full of music that will keep them moving. I’ve been using Songza, which gives me access to a ton of “curated playlists” that fit different moods and activities. I am most fond of this one for late night computer work and this one for cleaning and packing. Find what works for you.

What do you do when life happens and your task list gets out of control?

Originally shared via email: August 7, 2014 // Updated for blog: December 15, 2014. Photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo. Lazy Sunday Pack. 


Productivity Resources for Bloggers - Spark Ecourse by Campfire Chic

I love a good article on productivity. In fact, I made sure to include plenty of productivity resources throughout the Spark ecourse to remind participants that productivity isn’t something you think about once in a while…it’s something that needs focus so habits are formed. It would be a waste of time to read a lesson about productivity and finding what works best for you only to turn around and sit for hours working on perfecting your Pinterest boards. Productivity takes practice.

Each Spark ecourse email comes with a handful of resources…and guess what? Many participants reply to the emails with even more resources that they think would help others! How cool is that? Pretty soon these emails will be overflowing with resources!

Want to get a taste of what it’s like to get one of these emails?

The emails start with a quick introduction and possibly a reminder of a past lesson. The main part of the email goes into the main lesson for the day — there may be some journaling, some listing, an invitation to create something with your hands, or a request to step away from the computer for a little while. At the end of each email there’s a question…and then the resources follow. Here’s an idea of what it looks like…

Spark your interest?


Like what you see? You can enter to win free registration to the Spark ecourse through Friday of this week. Two will win!

If you’re ready to rekindle your passion for blogging and get your site meeting your expectations, register for the Spark ecourse. This 30 day email-based course is the right mix of inspiration, motivation, and kick-in-the-pants that you’re looking for.

Blogging Ecourse by Kam of Campfire Chic

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5 Reasons to Get Outside This Week - Campfire Chic


Part of the rut I experienced earlier this year was that I was not being proactive about dusting off the mental cobwebs caused by sitting in front of a computer for hours each day. I would sleep in as much as I could each morning before rushing around the apartment to get my butt to work, sitting for hours at my desk, sitting in the lunchroom to eat my lunch, sitting for the rest of the day, getting in my car to head home at the end of the day only to either veg on the couch for a few hours before sitting at my desk to work on Campfire Chic stuff or heading straight from the car to my computer chair. I was mentally and physically sluggish. I found myself eating a ton of junk food and spending ridiculous amounts of time playing Ticket to Ride on my iPad with the delusion that “treating myself” to these things would justify all the screen time…

What I wasn’t doing was getting outside enough.

Now that I’m out of that rut, I stay out of it by making sure I’m spending time outside more often. Even if it’s just working on my container garden on our balcony.

Here are 5 reasons to get outside this week:

A Happiness Boost 

Bonus points for getting outside if you’re being active while you are out there! Our brains react well to exercise (even a 20 minute walk does awesome things for you) — giving us a bit of a happiness boost for simply moving our bodies! Think about it: how do you feel after a day at the beach, after throwing a frisbee around in the backyard, or spending an hour at the dog park? You probably feel awesome, and if you’re like me, you think: why don’t I do this more often?? Get outside this week for a quick happiness boost.

Try this: Call a friend and set up a date this week! Plan to walk around a local park or the high school track together while you catch up.

You Deserve a Break 

I’m a big fan of breaks. Long weekends…stepping away from a project for a few minutes…all sorts of breaks. I shared 3 reasons to take a break here on Campfire Chic last year and I still refer to that post when somebody emails me with questions about that gray area between being extra-productive and burning the proverbial candle at both ends. Let’s stop glorifying this idea of being busy all the time and take a break. You deserve it. Breaks also give us time to reflect and celebrate all the things we’ve accomplished. I know if I try to take a break while at home I’m going to end up marathoning an entire season of a show (I watched all of Season 2 of American Horror Story over Memorial Day weekend, yikes!) so I try to get away from home as often as possible.

Try this: Take that book you’re reading and read it in the park, in your backyard, or at an outdoor cafe. You’re doing something you want to do but also getting some fresh air while you’re doing it.

You Bought That Fancy App (and haven’t used it yet)

I downloaded the Ramblr app, Yonder app, and Zombies, Run! app and it took me forever before actually using them. Either use the apps you keep buying and downloading (or just downloading if they are free) or delete them. It’s just that simple. I guess the same could go for all the workout clothes in your closet that get used for pajamas or cleaning the house rather than actual workouts. I’m super guilty of this, too. Put on your yoga pants, fire up that geocaching app you paid $10 for, and get going.

Try this: Shuffle your apps on your phone so the one(s) you want to use this week are on your homescreen. This will be a visual reminder to use them! If you have the app icon buried in a folder, you’re less likely to remember that you have it.

It’s a great time to try something new

Why? Because there seems to be a class for everything and a coupon or deal for those classes. I just glanced at Groupon and I saw a discount on outdoor fitness classes. Living Social has a discount on registration for The Color Run and archery lessons. You already have getting outside on your mind, so be creative with it! Maybe classes aren’t your thing…if you like taking photos, go on a photo walk. If you like watching movies, find out if your town is having outdoor movie showings this summer.

Try this: If being social isn’t your thing, take your dinner outside this week! Leave your phone inside while you enjoy a meal in your backyard or on your apartment balcony.

Get a creativity boost

I already mentioned that you get a bit of a happiness boost from being active, but did you know that you may even get a creativity boost? I get my best Campfire Chic ideas when I’m outside…in fact, Campfire Chic is the result of a camping trip! Apparently this boost has something to do with improving the plasticity of your brain (I guess that’s a thing?), which is a good thing. Stepping out of your normal routine and getting some Vitamin D may just lead to your next big project.

Try this: Take a camera and a journal with you on your micro-adventure this week. The wildflowers along the sidewalk may inspire your next garden project or the changes you noticed to your hometown since you moved back may inspire your next zine.

I would love to hear additional ideas on how you can get outside this week. From micro-adventures to backyard activities, please feel free to list your ideas in the comments section below.

What reasons would you include in this list?

How can you change your routine this week to include a bit of time outdoors?


Today’s post is brought to you by Amy of Lemon & Raspberry.

3 Reasons Why You Will Never Finish That Project from Amy of Lemon and Raspberry on


If you’re anything like Kam or I you’ve also got a long list of projects that you want to finish. Craft projects and business projects and home projects and the list goes on and on. For example, I have a memory keeping project that I’ve been working on and off for almost three years. There are a lot of reasons why it is still not done – not least of which is because it is far bigger than I expected (see number one below).

You probably have one or two or ten projects you’re in the middle of too. Plus all the pins you want to try. Plus all the ideas you have brainstormed for the future and not yet started.

Let me be honest with you. Tough love time.

You’re never going to finish that project and here’s why:

3 reasons you will never finish that project

You don’t know what you’re doing

You’re lost and you don’t know what that next step is. Maybe it’s a quilt that you’re struggling with the binding. Maybe it’s an ebook that you don’t know how to conclude. Maybe it’s a new career that you don’t yet have all the skills for.

Either way, you’re either hoping the answer will float into your brain through no effort on your part or you think that if enough time passes you’ll be able to figure it out.

Which means you’re never going to finish.

You don’t know your priorities

Is it more important that you finish reading that novel because the library due date is soon or more important that you finish that baby quilt for your cousin’s upcoming shower? Is it more important that you hang out with your neighbor or that you finish putting together the new free ebook for your subscribers? Neither answer is right or wrong; hang out with your friends all you want.

Just know that if that project is not made a priority you’re never going to finish it.

You are afraid of what will happen when you finish

Once you finish that novel you’ve been chipping away at for six years since college, then what? What if it is incredibly terrible and a train wreck and you have just wasted six years of your life? Or, even worse, what if it is genius literature and then you have another huge to do list of writing your query letter and sending it out to agents and risking rejection or even having to decide between more than one offer and then having to deal with being a famous author? I know, it’s rough.

Of course, if you never finish it you don’t have to worry about either outcome.

There are so many reasons why you are never going to finish that project. Or, you know, prove me wrong.

In the comments, I’d love to hear what project you’re working on and your next step to FINISH! (I know you can do it!)

At the daily blog Lemon and Raspberry, Amy T Schubert helps you tell your story, build your platform and find your GREAT WORK … and how those all combine to help you live your best creative life. Check out her free guide to jumpstart your creativity!


3 Productivity Tips for Bloggers - Campfire Chic

You have your long list of things to tackle today, right? It’s probably pretty daunting, but you’re ready to get going. I’m the same way…I have my long list of tasks and errands and I’m pumped to get them started and I usually crash and burn after the second or third thing on the list. Let me tell you, housework is not usually at the top of that list, so it gets ignored. Day after day.

Why do I crash and burn? Because I’m using up too much of my decision-making-power and not putting the tasks I can quickly finish at the top of my priority list. I’m putting things without an end on the list first, totally setting myself up for disaster.

So here’s how I’m going to change things, and maybe it will change how you tackle your to do list.

3 Productivity Tips

Do the dishes first

The best piece of advice I heard over the past few months (at least the piece that stuck with me) is to do the dishes before starting on your work.

Yes. Do the dishes.

The dishes need to be done anyway, there is an end point, it doesn’t take a lot of decision-making-power to complete the task, and you’ll have a “win” under your belt before you even get to your task list! There are other bonuses like: your cereal bowl will be clean by the time you need a snack and that fresh smell of clean dishes will waft through your home as a reminder that you’re a badass. For more on this idea, listen to Episode 79 of Smart Passive Income Podcast, which included 8 tips for productivity.

What is due next?

This is another piece of advice from a podcast. This time, I was listening to the Paperclipping Roundtable (a scrapbooking/memory-keeping podcast) and Ali Edwards was one of the guests. I can’t remember what episode it was (and there doesn’t seem to be any transcripts available for me to search), but I believe each guest was going around and describing their workflow – how they keep up with deadlines, launching new products, staying on top of their responsibilities, etc. And Ali stated (very matter-of-factly) “whatever is due next”. You could hear everybody on the podcast stop and have their minds blown by the super simple plan. What’s due next? This? Okay, I’ll work on this.

This totally helps me out when I have too many irons in the fire and maybe overestimated my ability to get guest posts, interview requests, and my regular work done on a short schedule. It doesn’t give me a lot of wiggle room when trying to procrastinate on projects and it helps me focus on what is actually due now rather than what is due in a few weeks.

What can I finish in 20 minutes?

I read a similar line on My Life as a Teacup (Kristin only gives herself 2 minutes, which is pretty badass) and I had one of those “ohhhhhh” moments. Just like doing the dishes, this piece of advice practically guarantees me that I’ll have some “wins” rather than not actually completing anything by the end of the day. I can fold and put away laundry in 20 minutes. I can respond to blog comments, send out a guest blog post pitch, fill up my Buffer, clean the shower, or go and check the mail (our mailbox is kind of far away). Those are all things that have an end point, which is exactly what I need from time to time.

It’s no surprise that productivity advice sticks in my head more than others lately. I’m doing so much better at staying off of my computer during the week so I can spend more time creating, packing lunches, and spending time with friends and family. So much better than a year ago. These small tips have helped me go from working/”working” on my computer from 6 – 11:30 every night to working for a handful of hours on Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday nights instead. There have been some ups and downs with my shift in workflow – the March #30Lists is coming up on me a lot faster than I expected, I was about a week late to sending a guest blog post to somebody…but the dishes are always clean, Alex and I have our lunches packed the night before, and I’m spending way more time “being social” than this time last year.

What is the best piece of advice you received recently?


Get a Business Coach - Campfire Chic

I have a confession: I make a lot of excuses.

Excuses to avoid doing housework. Excuses to not launch new products. Excuses to not workout.

So many excuses.

Also…I’m scared. I’m scared and hide behind my excuses. I use my excuses to stay sheltered and safe. It’s one of the biggest reasons I chose BRAVE as my One Little Word for the year. It’s helping me try new things, like acknowledging my excuses and getting help with them.

One of the brave things I did recently was get a 90-minute coaching session with Katie Lee of The Small Change Project.

I was terrified and wanted to make a thousand excuses to not follow-through with the meeting, but I sucked it up, woke up early, and met with Katie last Friday to chat about things.

Without going into too many details, IT WAS 90 minutes of AWESOME.

Talking to somebody who doesn’t really know me, isn’t familiar with excuses, and somehow knows exactly what questions to ask so I answer my own questions was totally inspiring and mind-blowing all at once.

Why you should talk to somebody about your dreams and goals:

  • talking about your goals makes them feel more real
  • you may find the answers you were looking for
  • the other person may be able to help – you never know until you ask!
  • you shouldn’t have to keep it all to yourself, that’s a lot of pressure

I found it super helpful to talk to somebody who didn’t know me very well (Katie, in this case) when trying to figure out long-term goals, but I also know that I need somebody to talk to about short-term goals, and that’s when I go to somebody who does know me well – Amy of Lemon and Raspberry (who only has 1 spot available through the end of the year, so you better get on that).  Going to somebody who knows me well makes me feel more accountable and like I truly have somebody on my team.

My brave challenge for you: book time with a coach (Katie and Amy are fantastic, seriously) to take a brave step in the right direction to realize your goals. Consider it an investment in your dreams.



Sometimes I sit down to brainstorm blog posts or new products or some sort of new campaign and my mind is blank…but when I’m sitting in a waiting room, I’m struck with inspiration and scrambling to capture my ideas. It may be an idea for a guest blog post to pitch or simply a way to share my next adventure with readers so I don’t want to lose any of those ideas. It is important to me to not forget them because I’m the type to dwell on knowing that I had an idea and promptly forgot what it was.


3 Ways to Capture Your Inspiration by Campfire Chic


You can’t plan out when inspiration will strike, but you can plan ahead so you’re ready to capture your ideas. Today, I am going to share three easy ways for you to capture your ideas while you are away from your desk/workspace.

Yellow legal pad

As a new fan of How I Met Your Mother, I was thrilled when Ted pulled out a yellow legal pad (and backup yellow legal pad) in P.S. I Love You in order to work out a big problem. Let’s start with the science behind using a yellow legal pad: studies show that color helps us remember things – hence why many teachers encouraged us to use colored index cards to make flash cards when we were younger. Having that pad available only for notes makes it part of a ritual or habit. You’ve set aside that specific thing for notes and brainstorming…don’t add your grocery list to it, it’ll throw things off. If you have a large enough bag, carry your legal pad with you and take it out when you reach the coffee shop just in case you have an idea and keep it handy while you work at home.

Go digital

Evernote and other apps are perfect for organizing your ideas. You are able to sync your accounts between devices so you can pull up that photo you took on your phone with your tablet. Evernote lets you organize voice recordings, text, and photos in handy folders so you can take a moment once a week to organize your thoughts and get things settled. By having an app that syncs, you don’t need to worry about forgetting your yellow legal pad at home – you probably have your phone or access to a computer most of the time, right? Another option? Email yourself! I do this all the time: I send myself a few emails with ideas for blog posts and open them up as I go and start drafting. I also send myself notes via email when I find articles online I want to share in an Essential Reading post. You’ll find my to do lists and deadline reminders in my inbox, as well.

Put it on your calendar

This works with paper and digital calendars, which is awesome. Say you come up with a few blog post ideas (5 ways to style a sparkly scarf, a dehydrated meal for backpacking, and a post showing off your recently decorated den) and don’t want to just write them down someplace to possibly be buried in your other amazing ideas (because your ideas are probably amazing, that’s why you have so many!). Plop those ideas onto your calendar ASAP. Use a pencil for your paper calendar if you’re like me and have issues committing to a finalized editorial calendar, or throw your ideas into your digital calendar and make it easy to move things around. Another tip: after you create the event in your digital calendar, add some notes to it! I like to outline some blog posts right away so I don’t forget where I was going with something (like 5 ways to live a more balanced life).


How do you capture inspiration when it strikes?
What do you do with your ideas once you’re able to sit down and evaluate things?