Monday, May 7, 2012

When Your To-Do List Sabotages Your Joy...

I love lists. I love spreadsheets. I will create lists just for the sake of creating lists. Something inherently orderly about lists. They make me happy. On the flip side, while I crave routine, order, and organization, it takes a real intentional effort on my part to get into that mindset. Sometimes it seems like I spend more time creating my to-do lists than I do actually fulfilling them. Sometimes by the end of the day, I'll look at my to-do list in frustration, only to see the things that haven't yet been crossed off and ignoring all the other things I accomplished.

Most days it seems I go from making breakfast, cleaning up breakfast, to making lunch, cleaning up lunch, to making get the idea. Most days I flounder about in the housekeeping department, playing catch-up with strewn about toys, errant kitchen utensils (why is my vegetable brush in the sandbox?), and trying to fit in a brief homeschooling lesson or two before I finally collapse on the couch in exhaustion.

And what does this have to do with to-do lists? I'm getting there. I promise!

At the end of every day when we look at our to-do lists, we're usually only concerned with one thing--output and production. I didn't get around to cleaning out the art closet I didn't make the triple batch of meatballs I meant My bathroom is still dirty, my dishes are still in the sink, and my baseboards have enough dust to engulf a small town. Triple Fail. But, I forget to remember that I had a fun day with my daughter. We did an art project and played outside. She gave me a kiss and said "I love you Mommy!" without any prompting. I talked to a friend on the phone and offered encouragement as she was struggling. We met my husband for lunch and had a nice conversation. None of these things make it on the to-do list, but they made my day what it was. Some things cannot be measured in terms of "accomplished", and we must learn to find the worth in those intangible moments of life.

Today, as you're making your to-do list for the day, leave a little space at the bottom for those little things that made your day fulfilling. Turning the "to-do's" into the "have dones" may give you the encouragement you need to realize that life is more important than crossing things off a list.

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