During a particularly non-engaging teleconference, I decided to make a to-do list.
On my work to-do list, I wrote “make a home to-do list” and ” finish weekly cleaning to-do list”.
And then I read back my list and thought it was funny. It told me two things about myself:
1) My mind is clearly not on my work and,
2) I like to-do lists (it may have told you other things about me, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it).
As for Item #1, I will write a separate post on work shortly so stayed tuned for some big breaking news.
But let’s look further at Item #2:
I have always liked lists. When I was a kid, I would occasionally make to-do lists for my days, which usually included a schedule like this one.
1) 7:30 Wake up
2) 7:35 Get out of bed
3) 7:36 Brush teeth and shower
4) 7:50 Pick out outfit; suggest jeans and flowery top (but consider weather and mood)
The planning and list-making was the fun part. I would hardly ever adhere to the list or schedule.
Now, I make lists because it gives me a sense of control. Instead of worrying about all the stuff orbiting around in space over my head (where really, a halo ought to be), I am able to grab hold of those to-do items and bring them securely onto the paper in front of me.
Do I then get through the lists?
Generally, yes. I may decide that an item or two is not necessary or not a priority, but generally, I get through them. Yesterday I found a list in my desk drawer that I made on our two-week vacation in January. It had a number of items we needed to complete for our new house, as well as kid-scheduling stuff, and personal stuff. It was complete, even though I had not checked off the last few items.
I remember how I felt before I wrote the list. It was a couple of days before the end of our two-week trip, and I was starting to feel the anxiety of returning home to real life. After I wrote the list, it all seemed less overwhelming. Here is an excerpt from the list:
1) Book haircut and colour √
2) Register for soccer and baseball (I was already thinking about spring) √ √
3) Register for swimming lessons √
4) Make sure contractor does x, y and z (for the purposes of this post) √ √ √ (but there are now many more things that require attention in this category; does it ever end?)
5) Consider changing tile selection if delay continues (tile arrived 3 months late after ship delayed in Italian harbour, but no change required)
6) Decide on accent chairs for dining room √
7) Get new bed linens (Deferred)
8) Book a babysitter for March 6th event. √
Why on earth were these things so daunting when they were in space, but easy to tackle once they were down on paper? I’m not sure but I know just writing them down loosened some tightness in my chest.
So, back to today. My home to-do list for today looks like this (might as well tackle two birds with one stone):
1) Drop off dry-cleaning
2) Put Lil D’s hand me downs into Lil C’s closet rotation and remove stuff that is too small
3) Pick up new bedside table that has arrived
4) Purchase new towels (ours are all white turned grey)
5) Book handyman for small jobs that are nagging (have separate list of small jobs)
I won’t bore you with the cleaning to-do list, but I’ve started making a checklist for tasks room by room.
This post may be as engaging as the teleconference that inspired me to write this, so perhaps you’ve been able to jot down a few of your own to-do items while reading…