Whenever I have so much to do that I can’t see straight, the voice of reason (aka my husband) tells me I should write it down. Books and blogs tell us that organized people use To Do Lists as a handy tool to check off all the tasks at hand, one by one. So why does this habit of highly effective people always seem to backfire on me?
I don’t know what your To Do List looks like on any given day, but mine is pretty ridiculous. It’s not important things like Climb Mount Everest, or Cure Cancer, or even Raise Responsible Humans. It’s menial, mundane duties that I must accomplish just to ensure my life functions on a daily basis.
- It’s schedule play dates for respective children.
- It’s RSVP to the pile of birthday invitations and evites and paperless posts that are drowning your calendar (meanwhile why do I never graciously decline!?).
- It’s buy an endless supply of gifts for said birthday parties.
- It’s choose paint color for Lark’s hand-me-down furniture.
- It’s bring in those glasses with the scratched lenses to try to get a free replacement.
- It’s make plans with friends so they don’t forget about you.
- It’s plan vacations for the next 9 months so you have something fun to look forward to.
- It’s find something to wear to every life event you have coming up in the next 6 weeks.
- It’s return all the crap you already bought that didn’t look good and is currently residing in your non-functioning guest room.
- It’s call your parents every so often so they don’t complain about how ungrateful you are.
- It’s organize the photos from your vacation last December.
- It’s put the kids’ too-small clothes in bins for their cousins.
- It’s make a flyer for PTA movie night and have it approved by the mom squad.
- It’s make a follow up Doctor appointment for myself- dang it- still haven’t gotten around to that.
All this, in addition to the bigger things like keeping my career moving in the right direction, staying engaged at home with my family, and maintaining my fit body by working out– ha yeah right on that one!
Sometimes looking at the to do list is simply paralyzing. There is no way to tackle it all. It will never get done. We will have no friends, no money, no fun. My breaths get shorter, faster, my eyes glaze over, and I’m simply numb. Life is crushing me.
But on a good day, I do admit, it feels pretty darn good to check these things off the list, one by one. The packages await at my doorstep, the birthday gifts are wrapped and labeled appropriately, I can see out of my glasses again. My boss gave me a nod at the end of the day, my kids told me the baked ziti was delicious (it’s all I can make), my husband told me my blog post was the best yet. I feel accomplished. I’m crushing it.
The To Do List has become a non-negotiable in my life, kinda like working out (again, totally kidding). It’s my worst nightmare and my bestest friend. It gives me direction and purpose that I so desperately need in my hectic, time starved life. It helps me get the job (so so many jobs) done. Another blog post written. Check! What’s next?