Make one year, three year, and five-year goals.

Melissa Batchelor, Ph.D, RN, FNP, FAAN 

The New Year is almost upon us; this means it’s time to start out new and fresh and make some New Year’s resolutions. One resolution that many people make is to get organized – to minimize the chaos in their work lives. In this episode, I’ll walk you through how I think about time and how you could apply it to managing your master, weekly, and daily to-do lists (all while making it fun)

Steps To Getting Organized: Managing Your To-Do List

When I was a doctoral student, I had to create professional development plans for several fellowships. This is a good idea because it helps you to get your thoughts organized by academic year. If you are also an academic or student,  you have to create a plan and usually by  semesters for the academic year: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer. Or, if you are in the business world, you might think of time in quarters for business planning.

  • Annual + Semester Planning. Make one year, three years, and five-year goals and map out steps needed to get there. You will need to plan out the goals that you want to achieve on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly time frame – but also plan out the activities that you need to do. Be thinking ahead about the things you need to be doing a year in advance so that you’re ready when it’s time to start the work to meet that goal. 
  • Create a Master To-Do List.  I organize my Master To-Do List by project and category – as an academic, we have three main areas for our work: Research/ Scholarship, Teaching and Service. I track each project and all the different tasks that I need to complete with the due dates on this Master Plan. 
    • I’ve tried both electronic-based and paper-based organizers. Ultimately, I’ve ended up using a hybrid model. My electronic calendar keeps up with my meetings and schedule but I like to use paper to track my To Do List. The act of writing things down helps me to remember what projects I have going on for any given semester.
  •  Weekly To-Do List. Usually, at the beginning of the week, I will     create a Weekly To-Do list. This list will include all of my  meetings (for work) but will also include any  errands (for home). I like to reference my calendar for weekly meetings. 
  •  Daily To-Do List + Incoming. It’s so important to keep track of    what you need to do each day as well. In the Daily To-Do list, I add my top 3 priorities for the day and also write down any New Tasks as they come in. I love to use sticky notes for the Daily To-Do lists. 
  • Keep it Fun: Creativity in Aging. #NerdAlert!!  I am a HUGE fan of school supplies (pens, pencils, post-its, etc). Use whatever makes it fun for you whether that be color-coded paper or pens. 

If you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to share about how you manage your To-Do list or how you get things done again, drop them into the comment box below the YouTube video or send me a message: If you enjoyed this episode, please let me know, and maybe I will do more podcasts on How to Get Organized and manage your time to increase productivity!



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About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
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