I drop my girls off at school a little before 9:00 AM and I pick up my son at 2:00 PM. That gives me 4 hours and 45 minutes to attempt to get a lot accomplished in my day. That doesn’t sound like much time, does it?
I make my lists every day and have a “Ready, Set, Go,” mentality. It really bothers me. I woke up the other day thinking, “I am not my to do list.” Why is it always about what I need to get done? Do I exist to accomplish things? Is my worth tied to what I accomplish in my day? I’m a human being not a human doing.
Work lists need to get done.
The house requires attention.
The laundry doesn’t do itself.
The groceries don’t magically appear.
The meal fairy doesn’t put dinner on the table.
The dog can’t walk himself.
I need to put exercise on my list of to do’s every day.
There are a bunch of PTSA tasks that need to get done.
The next Girl Scout meeting needs to get planned.
I still have a bunch of books to deliver for Ella. The mommy taxi went from delivering Girl Scout cookies to delivering books. Ella’s Bat Mitzvah project was a book signing. She sold a bunch of books to raise money for the NICU. I’m so proud of her. Time to tally up all that selling and bring a check to the NICU. Last time I checked she was at $725 and we are still collecting money.
I talked to Stefanie Richthammer today. We had a wonderful conversation about the great work that she does with women. I asked Stef about the goals that she works on with women. She said one of the goals that keeps coming up is around adding more fun and joy into their lives. This resonated with me. I have told my friends that I need more fun and less work in my days. I need balance in my days. What does this look like and what am I striving for?
I think it is very important to accomplish things in our day. I know that you have a work deadline. I know that I have to turn this blog in tonight. I get it. We all have lists and deadlines and things that need to get done. However, we can’t just work all day. If I get up at 6:00 Am and start work and finish my day at 11 PM having worked all day, I will be completely wearing myself out. We are not meant to work that much in a day. How do we expect ourselves to keep up with that kind of pace and how is that good for us?
I want you to get your lists done. I want you to start with naming the three things that you think that you need to get done today. Emmalou Penrod says that she calls that her “Big 3.” Then I want you to evaluate after that. Is it time for a break? Is it time for some fun? What would you like to do in your day? I am sitting here thinking about how I want to watch Bridgerton with my husband. I love when we find a show to watch together.
If our days align with our values, then we will feel better about our days. I value people. I need time with people. I will have a lunch with a friend. I have my book club this week. I need to tell my mom to ditch work and play hooky with me. I value taking a time out for a nail appointment. I value my husband taking the morning off to go have breakfast with me. I value taking a long walk outside in the sunshine with my dog. I value stopping myself and making myself a healthy lunch to sit down and relax and enjoy. I value my blog. I value my podcast. I value my husband, kids, parents, friends and pets. I value my house being clean. I value clean clothes. I don’t value a never ending to do list that wears me out.
If my to do list is upsetting me, what can I do differently?
Think about what I want my days to look like. Design my days. My friend says Fridays are for fun. I love that.
Think about what is lacking in my day? If I don’t have enough fun or down time, then it is my job to add that in.
Think about my priorities and make sure that I am giving that attention.
Reduce my list to three things instead of ten. That feels more manageable and makes me feel less overwhelmed and grumpy. We can always add three more once we get the first three finished.
Say no to what isn’t important to me.
We can’t throw away the list every day. We can make sure to have balance in our lives. Where is your balance heading to today? Will there be fun in your day today? What do you find fun? That was something that Stefanie mentioned today. Some women don’t remember what they think is fun! Getting enough sleep and finding balance in our day will make us even more productive with the to do list. Doing less can actually lead to our being even more productive. Taking care of yourself with enough sleep, exercise, healthy food and fun has a pay off to the to do list. You are not your to do list, but I know that some things need to get done. I will get my lists done but I won’t let my lists control me. Take charge of your day and how you want it to look. If you aren’t happy with how your days look, start changing it today. Think of one small change in your day that you can make to increase your happiness. I am going to go put my blog down and enjoy Bridgerton with my husband. Something that brings me joy.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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