Tuesday, November 3, 2015

DIY Magnetic Task Management System {Tutorial!}

Everyone needs a friend in their life... you know – the kind who listens patiently while you moan on the phone about your life falling apart and then offers practical suggestions to get you back on your feet.

My dear friend keeps her hands full between her little ones at home and running their growing urbanhomestead. She always amazes me how much she gets done.

I asked her about her productivity – hoping to find some secret. And she had a golden nugget for me:

Objects in motion stay in motion.

It’s true. Once I get going on a project, it’s easy to keep plugging away. Perhaps getting started is the hardest thing. And sometimes the hardest thing is remembering what you wanted to do once you get on a roll!

Confessions of a List Lover

I've always been a visual person -- if I don't see the task/item before me, I'm easy for me to forget about it.

So I have lists. Everywhere.

I've used the Daily Docket by The Art of Simple for YEARS. It's great for recording specific tasks you need to get done that day, like rounding up library books or changing bed linens.

But what about those tasks that repeat every day? I quickly grew tired of re-writing my lists of things that I wanted to do daily (like exercise, take my vitamins, and empty the dishwasher) but forget to do if it wasn’t written down.

Additionally, as a homeschooling family, I found myself struggling to make school happen. It seemed like this big, shapeless, monstrous task that needed to be done daily. And even though I know that school for my kids doesn’t take very long, it was a struggle to get started.

In short, I just needed to do it. But my scattered brain kept getting lost in the shuffle.

As I talked about on my post about Marble Money, I needed a way for my children to have ownership over their schedule and their school work – a large task for a 1st grader and preschooler.

And I also needed it to be visual so I could remember to make sure it happened!

Which is how my dear friend came to my rescue. Again. She introduced me to her Magnetic Task Management System.

Magnetic Task Management System

The strategy behind the Magnetic Task Management System is really quite simple. Each day is divided into its own column category. In my case, I did Monday through Friday. A simple line splits the daily columns in half. Items that need to be done are up top; items that have been completed are moved below the line.

This offers an INSTANT progress update. All I have to do is glance at the board and I can tell that I’m forgetting some of my basic responsibilities -- or that I’m doing a good job staying ahead of the curve.

And I love that my kids can help hold me accountable by seeing how much my tasks are moving.

Here's my tutorial to make the Magnetic Task Management System.

1. Create a table in Word that is three columns across (each column = 2.25”). Make your rows 1” tall.

2. Begin entering your list of tasks you know you’ll want to daily and/or weekly.

My list for myself included: take vitamins, exercise, empty the dishwasher, read aloud (to kids), prep for Classical Conversations, cleaning bathrooms (a task I WANT to do once a week but always forget), etc.  
My list for my kids included school subjects (math, reading, handwriting, spelling, Classical Conversations memory work, daily drawing) and other important tasks, like preparing for Awana and practicing piano. 
I also created task cards for fun things I want to do, but never seem to have time to fit in – like using our Hot Dots cards or completing our historical Usborne Sticker Books.

3. Make sure your font can be seen from a distance. I used Cooper Black, size 26 font, and bolded it.

4. Print your daily tasks lists and laminate them for durability. Then cut apart the task cards. Our family has a color code for every family member, so I made sure to print them according to their personal code. I’m yellow, by the way.

5. Use Glue Dots or GlueSpots to attach your cards to 3/4” circular magnets. I got both of my items for very inexpensively in the craft section at my local Walmart (even less than Walmart’s online prices).

6. Determine how many magnetic boards it will take to fit your tasks. Since I was doing detailed organization for 3 people, I needed two 24”x36” boards to complete the task. I picked mine up at Walmart for a fraction of the price at Staples.

7. Draw Daily Columns on your whiteboards using a dry erase marker. You may have to widen or shorten columns, so make sure it’s erasable! :)

8. If you have extra space, create an option for a Prize Bucket column. For every day that the tasks are COMPLETELY finished, add a token (ie – plain magnet) to the Price Bucket column. For every ten tokens, my kids get a prize from the Prize Bucket. There’s everything from toys to coupons for a dessert and movie night in the Prize Bucket.

9. If you have extra space, create an option to store tasks not in use that particular week. Our Classical Conversations group meets on Mondays, so we don't do a full day of school on those days. But we do on off weeks, so my tasks are stored in "storage" for now. If you look close, I have these extra tasks turned upside down so my brain can ignore them. :)

I hope your family is as blessed by the Magnetic Task System as ours has been! 

****Feel free to tailor this method to your needs. If I owned my own home business and had regular repeating tasks, I would definitely make magnetic task cards for those. Really, the possibilities are endless!****

And I’d love to know – what are some tasks are on your daily list that you always seem to forget?


  1. Thanks for sharing such a great information with us. Currently I am working on Task Management tool

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