I like lists. I like the process of writing them. I like the look of the listed items with their optimistic little checkboxes. I like it that my list provides a plan for accomplishing things during my day, that my list keeps me organized and on track. I like it that my list lets me fall asleep at night because I can let go of remembering it all and know that it’s on my list for me to revisit in the morning. And, finally, I like it that my completed list will give me the freedom to relax and not accomplish anything else.
I’ve been thinking about this today, because I have a number of things on my list that I am supposed to get done today. One of those things is writing this post. I woke up today, looked at my list and mentally planned out my day. By 10:00 I was already behind schedule because I’d gotten pulled into doing things that I hadn’t put on my list (darn laundry!). I wrote it down on my list after the fact, though, so I could check it off. Does anyone else do that? It’s like I want credit for it or something. Is there somewhere I should be sending my completed lists so I can get additional graduate credits or earn coupons or something? I’d really like a new pretty camera bag, so if there are coupons toward that, I’d be especially interested.
The list seems like such a good thing. And, in the ways I’ve mentioned, I think it is. However, my list can also be one of my greatest stressors. I put the items on my list often with arbitrary and sometimes unrealistic deadlines. It can quickly grow to the point it’s unattainable. It can leave me feeling unsuccessful and stressed over the items that didn’t get crossed off that day. The thing I have to always remind myself is that many of my deadlines and stresses are almost entirely self-imposed.
Take this post, for example. I have it on my list for today because I want to routinely post a general “life” entry on Saturdays. I’ve never told you all that before; it’s my own structure. And, the reality is that now that I have told you that, it’s still a choice I’m making. Although I’m sure there would be tears on your part if you were expecting a “life-y” post on Saturday and all you were greeted with was a post with a picture of me with my family or my shiny bathroom that I cleaned instead of writing a post (ya right, like I’d make that choice!), we’d all be okay.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a balance. My list is great because it really does let me not dwell on what I want to be getting done, but I can easily switch to being driven by the list I created. Maybe I need to do a better job of scheduling my “nothing” time also. I’m trying. Did you see that I have “knit” written on my list in the photo… and that it’s crossed off before the financial reconciliation or iPhone syncing? Progress.
If you have information regarding where to send completed “to do” lists for credit, please leave a comment with the contact information.