Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Check it off

My niece wrote about being addicted to to-do lists. We are related. There is something about lists in our genes.

I am also a to-do addict. A do-do-do addict for short. I used to have three calendars. Just for personal stuff. Ridiculous.

Work is work. Of course I have a calendar there, and a post-it note list of what I am working on. Not too hard to keep track of. I am blessed with a job I don’t have to take home with me.

For home… which includes six kids, my husband who is Mister Present Moment, two dogs, one cat, church, singing, friends, the house, the yard, the car, and the bills – well, things are a bit more complex. Still, at 48, I have given up on keeping meticulous track of EVERYthing. I figure it is like theater and the show will go on - it must! - even if I’m not ready. Besides, priorities are always changing. Sick happens. And flooded basements. And a kid crying over his haircut. Yes, last weekend’s list was completely obliterated for the sake of ridding the house and its inhabitants of lice and their possible offspring.

So, now, I have one little calendar that fits in my little purse. Its cover is moleskin just because it makes me happy. It is 3.5" x 5.5" and each page is a week, with individual days on one side and just lines for notes on the other side. Not much space to let me cram in things I really don't have the time for. It keeps me honest. It helps me say no. My little moleskin book also sports a ribbon to mark where I am, and an attached elastic band to mark another place or just to keep it closed. I put all my appointments and the kids’ appointments and even Laird's important appointments in there, because he is not good with dates and reminding him of some big things is just one of the things I do for him because I love him. I write my to-do lists on the notes side, with phone numbers. Sometimes I have to go back through to find things. It's okay. If I can't fit things in my little calendar book, I give up on them and figure there is no real need. When I get them done, I cross them out, even if I have to go back eight pages to do so.

On the weekend, I make a paper list of things to do over the weekend and sit it on the table just in case other people in the house want to help get things done. I keep adding to the list as I go. It doesn't all get done, ever. I throw it out on Sunday night anyway. It’s life. Things don’t get done. So what. The really important things get done even if they aren’t on the list.

Sometimes, when I really want a sense of accomplishment, I just get out a blank piece of paper and do it backwards. I only write down what I have done right after I do it. Everything. Nap. Wash dishes. Anything I could remotely be proud of accomplishing. At the end of the day, I look at the list and smile.

Some weekends, I go hog wild and just do whatever I want without any list at all! It’s fun!!! I just get up, make breakfast, then look around for something to do. Oh, there is a basket of laundry. I will fold it. Now what? Make a cup of coffee, yippee! Now what? Call mom. Yeah! Now what? Go for a bike ride. Great idea! Those weekends are the very best days of all.


Amanda and Co. said...

I'm a list person, as well. But, now that we have two children (going on three), I've given up the control-freak in me.

You're right-the show does go on.

Perhaps I'll learn to relax as you have. Ahh...

I'll put it on my list of things to do. :)

Becky said...

that is awesome. I may need to try the moleskin calendar and see where it takes me...the work calendar is a little out of control, but it's at least divorcement from the rest of my life...usually.