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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.