Skip to content

Making Peace with my To-do List

So I was planning to write a post this week about organizing our embarrassingly messy pantry, a post complete with pretty, shiny “after” pictures, but the thing is that I have to actually organize it before I can write a post about organizing it. And life has been pretty messy around here lately (not a whole lotta organizing going on). Just so you get the visual, here’s what our house looks like currently:

photo 1-1our bathroom

photo 2-1our bedroom

photo 3-1our living room

Like I said — messy.

We had a water pipe bust last week, and our bedroom floor and wall are still in the drying process, so everything has yet to be put back together. We’re currently sleeping on the pull-out couch (wishing we had a guest bed right about now, because sleeping on this thing makes us wake up feeling at least ninety years old).

Anyways, with all of this craziness going on, it’s been one of those weeks where not much on my to-do list really gets crossed off. And that’s something that generally stresses me out.

Case in point: Weston went through a stage a few months ago where he literally would. not. nap. during the day unless I was holding him, and I just about lost my mind because I felt so suffocated and angry about not being able to GET ANYTHING DONE. But then I realized that I was really just mad about the fact that I was not the one in control of how my day was going. And that people (like my infant son) are more important than my to-do list. And that baby snuggles are way more fun than vacuuming, anyway. I know all of this sounds obvious (maybe this is easier for most people), but I was really having a hard time with getting to the end of the day and feeling unproductive.

So one of my goals for this year is to not be so driven by productivity and to remember that loving the people under my roof well is more important than how much I get done in a given day.

Having said all that…the house still has to get cleaned by someone, and being a responsible adult means getting some of that to-do list crossed off at some point.

So, here are some strategies that are helping me keep my sanity and make peace with my to-do list, especially during days, weeks, or seasons when life is unusually hectic.

  1. 3 “Most Important Tasks” – I’m reading Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider, a book that defines simple living and offers suggestions for how to get there. One thing she writes about is having 3 tasks each day that you label as “most important.” That way, you’re not pressured and overwhelmed by your entire to-do list; if you get to more items on your list, great, but if not, at least you know you made progress.
  2. Chip away at large tasks – Some things on my to-do list loom so large in my head that they feel almost too intimidating to even start, like that newborn photo book I still haven’t made, or organizing our closets. But a few minutes here and there really do add up, so even if your only time to work on something is during your child’s nap time, or whenever you have a few extra minutes, tackling large projects in small bites adds up quicker than you’d think.
  3. Evening tidy-up — Some things I wait to do until right before bed, like picking up Weston’s toys or putting the day’s dirty dishes in the dishwasher. (Check out that alliteration!) Otherwise, these are tasks I’d be doing over and over again throughout the day. Every night, I do a quick tidy-up (15-20 minutes) around the house to get things back in order. This way, even if I didn’t get the chance to get much more done throughout the day, I can go to bed feeling like I’m not surrounded by clutter.

Maybe next week I’ll get around to organizing that pantry and sharing about it here. Or maybe more important life things will come up and it won’t get done quite yet. Either way, I think the world will keep on spinnin’. :)

What are some tips you have for managing your to-do list/not stressing about getting everything done? I’d love to hear, because obviously I’m still figuring all of this out.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Brittany #

    Thanks for sharing Grace! I am struggling with some of the same feelings about getting my house clean and I have to keep reminding myself that holding my little one and loving on her is more important. She doesn’t like to be put down during the day so most of the time I sit on the couch holding her while she sleeps. If I even think about putting her down she wakes up. Needless to say my house looks kind of like yours, and I didn’t have a busted water pipe! We will never get this time back with our babies, we have to take advantage of it! : )

    January 17, 2014
    • Grace #

      Good to know I’m not the only one who has these struggles. :) And what you said is so true – we have to take advantage of these precious baby days!

      January 19, 2014
  2. Ashleigh #

    If there’s one thing I can relate to it’s feeling angry and upset when nothing is getting done! I remember having the same “ah-ha” moment about what is truly important when Caleb was younger, but I haven’t been so great at convincing my emotions of what I know in my head. I try to remember something that came up in my Bible study group. When I’m frustrated that Caleb needs me and I’m not making progress on my to do’s I’m being selfish. I never thought of it as selfishness, but when you think about it it’s true. I want to do what I want and I’m annoyed that someone is keeping me from it. Remembering that usually puts me in my place and gets me out of my grumpy mood. It has also helped me to break up my regular chores and have one big thing to do each day. It doesn’t always get done, but it doesn’t feel so overwhelming that way. I like the 3 most important tasks idea and will probably steal it. It’s a lot like having the one chore each day, but seems more flexible. Thanks for sharing your mess and giving me ideas on how to tame mine ;).

    January 17, 2014
    • Grace #

      Great point – it totally is just plain selfishness! And realizing that does make it a little easier to turn those frustrated feelings around. Thanks for sharing how you handle this!

      January 19, 2014
  3. I think it is fantastic that your boy’s name is Weston. I have a Weston also. :) Infant days are crazy days…toddler days can be equally crazy. But, those baby snuggles are like gold. I miss my snuggles from my kids that are “too old” to snuggle with me anymore. Enjoy ’em!

    January 20, 2014
    • Grace #

      So cool you have a Weston, too! And you’re right…baby snuggles are the absolute best. These days do go by too fast!

      January 28, 2014

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS