Home » balance » Improving my to-do list

Improving my to-do list

My to-do lists are awful. They are scattered everywhere in my house, like the random thoughts tumbling around in my brain. I’m guessing it’s a good habit to write so many of my thoughts down, but not so helpful when they become more clutter on the kitchen counter (and office, and living room and car…)

Still, for all my to-do lists, I often feel like I’m simply shuffling of things around, like I’m moving but not necessarily going anywhere or accomplishing much of anything. Even after a productive day, I feel like I missed something important that I really meant to do, though I can’t always put my finger on why I feel this way.

It occurred to me in the shower (as most of my discoveries do) that maybe what I’m missing is a more complete to-do list: one that will make me feels accomplished no matter how many dishes are still “soaking” in the sink.

The list became longer than I was expecting, but I still think each of these things is doable on a daily basis.

1. Do something that scares me. This one has to do with my efforts to venture outside my comfort zone as much as possible. I’m naturally a bit of a homebody, and now that I don’t actually leave the house to work (and some days don’t leave the house at all), my comfort zone seems to be shrinking. Big or small, I want to do one thing every day on the edge of my comfort zone to keep it from collapsing in on me.

2. Un-procrastinate. This one will be hard because I am an expert procrastinator and queen of making excuses to myself. My time management potential would go through the roof, I’m convinced, if I just un-procrastinated one or two things per day. The hardest part is never the task I am procrastinating. It is getting over the hump of making me start something.

3. Connect with someone. Back to the homebody thing—I tend to go too long without reaching out to friends and family. For most people, this one is a given, but for me it can be tough to get outside my own head and make sure I connect with someone every day. Whether a phone call, coffee date, or email (though email is a stretch for real connection), I think this one is crucial to add to my daily list.

4. Make a memory. Somehow, little guy is already 6 months old. My dogs are both 5 years old! I’ve been married for going on 6 years. I don’t remember much of what has been going on for the past several years or so—I can see why people seem to think times speeds up as we get older. I used to remember all the Christmases, birthdays, and vacations. Now I find myself questioning how old I am going to be on my next birthday. Not all days are gems, but I every day has at least one thing worth remembering, whether in writing or photograph. Then I’m going to make a scrapbook! (yeah, right!)

5. Do something that makes me happy. Ever since I started writing this blog, I think about it all the time. I’m thinking of ideas for the future. I observe life in a different way through a writer’s eyes. It makes me happy. I love reading other blogs on different perspectives. Every single day, I want to devote time to my own thoughts and writing and reading. I am humbled that people actually follow what I write and care to comment, but I would do it no matter what. It makes me feel like I’ve still got something for just me (and you too, of course).

6. Take a step back. Absolutely everything benefits from a perspective shift. It is so, so easy to get caught up in the way things seem at the moment. If I can re-frame everything and ask myself if the so-called disaster will matter in five years or next week, I will be so much better off.

7. Get outside. And not just dashing to and from my car. I live in the country and it is gorgeous here. Even on cold days. And little guy loves the outside. So if we need to bundle up and take a quick walk in our woods so be it. We have woods! Lots and lots of mature trees, with a footpath right in our back yard! Why am I not taking advantage of this every single day?! Fresh air is good for the lungs and the soul.

8. Let go. Each day that ends, I lament all the things I didn’t finish on my assorted lists. And usually the obscene amount of dog hair that seems grow out of my carpet no matter how many times I vacuum with my way-too-expensive vacuum cleaner (rant for another day). At the end of each day, I want to be able to let go of my expectations and disappointments and just be satisfied for another day lived.

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7 thoughts on “Improving my to-do list

  1. What a great list! Very nicely stated. If only we could ALL do those things every day! I actually have a #9 for you to add to your list: Download a copy of Evernote. It gives you one place to keep all of your notes and to-do lists, and you can access them all from your computer or from a mobile device. I used Evernote recently to take notes about a blog post I wanted to write. I got some ideas while I was riding the Metro and jotted them down right then and there. (And danged if I didn’t get the post written and published. Let me know if you want the URL!)

    And give me a call sometime… seriously! 😉 I’m usually here!

  2. What a great list! I read some time ago a great blog (and I can’t remember who it was that wrote it) but it was also about the frustration of not accomplishing anything on the daily to do list. As I became a Mum of twins just 9 months ago on top of having a now 3 year old, I knew I was about to enter an extremely busy world and am always looking for inspiration of how to manage my days and the millions of things that are waiting to be done. This blog I read suggested making a ‘Ta Da’ list as opposed to a ‘To Do’ list. I love To Do lists and think they’re important but every now and then, I write a ‘Ta Da’ list which is simply a list of things I achieved in a day. Even if there is only one thing on that list I can be happy to say, ‘Ta Da’, look what I did! I personally love your Number 8…Let Go. I need to work on this more. I hope you find success in implementing your new To Do list! Thanks for sharing!

    • I like the idea of the “Ta Da” list. Some times, I end a day with no tangible goals completed, and it seems like nothing got done. In reality, I may have been just keeping things together, which is an accomplishment worth crossing off a list and feeling satisfied about.

      Thanks for reading and sharing!

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