To Do List or STILL Undone List?
Maybe it’s just me, but ever get in that rut in life of never quite accomplishing what you think you should be? You have an endless list of need to do’s that you dutifully stare at each day and then in your best, conquer the world stance, immediately decide to stall and go do something else that requires less brain power instead? Sometimes, my brain just hurts looking at my list of ‘un’dones. Life is just busy and hard, and frankly, since at least 2009 when my oldest was born, I’ve been perpetually just tired-coincidence?? Call it old age, call it having young kids, call it the effects of multi-tasking (this is a topic for another day) and ineffectively juggling too much on my plate. Regardless of what you blame it on, I call it Tuesday.
After being involved in a woman’s nonprofit organization for well over a decade and having the opportunity to compare notes with hundreds of other busy women, I think it’s how all women feel-regardless of your personal situation. So how do we stop? How do we actually accomplish some of those to-do’s that have been left undone, perpetually?
I have 4 suggestions.
- First, give yourself some grace! I have no doubt that you, like me, are doing your best. Maybe somedays it reflects that back better than others, but you are not intentionally NOT completing tasks and not accomplishing your best. Ok, my multi-tasking friend, I’m going to repeat that. Give yourself some GRACE. It’s OK. You are NOT a failure. Just because your kids photo albums aren’t up to date or you haven’t written that thank you note for the gift you received in 2003 or just because the weeds, 6 years later, STILL need pulling and trees still need trimming; you are doing GREAT! Apparently, the idea of women being able to have it all at the same time came from an article published in Cosmo in the ‘80s. Crazy isn’t it? All the stress and guilt we have for feeling that we’re not measuring up or doing ‘enough’ it’s origin is a Cosmo article.
- Second, There’s a benefit about that list of ‘un’dones. If they’re still lingering around, maybe they don’t REALLY need to be done or maybe they don’t need to be done right now or by you at all. Take the photos, but if assembling albums is stressing you out and not an enjoyment, then maybe you just take the photos and jot down notes on special memories and events and you put those albums together later-when life slows down. Maybe it becomes a college graduation or wedding gift or a gift for the arrival of your first grandbaby. There are NO rules that you must compile and maintain albums for every child every year especially while you’re living it. It’s OK-seriously! I promise, your family would rather have a happy momma making the memories with them than a stressed-out momma trying to expertly catalog photos.
- Third, maybe your ‘un’done list can be done by someone else or not at all. As long as it makes sense financially, there’s very little these days that you can’t hire someone to do on your behalf. Think about it. Is getting the item accomplished MORE important than YOU being the one to accomplish it AND within your budget to hire out? If so, go for it and check that bad boy off your list. Or better yet, does it REALLY need to be done at all? Remember that thank you note left unwritten from 2003? Maybe, a quick text that says, “I wanted you to know 14 years later, I’m still so thankful that you…” is all you need to do or better yet, ask yourself, do you REALLY think this person even remembers or cares that you forgot to write a note 14 years ago? But just a txt to say, “I want you to know I’m thankful for you” is more than enough. Regardless of your approach, give yourself some grace with either decision.
- Four, any of those items still lingering around that you REALLY DO want/need to see accomplished now-prioritize & schedule it. Look at your ‘un’dones and decide the order or importance. Then look at your calendar and schedule the time to accomplish it. Now, for those tasks which are not easily completed in one or two sittings, then I want you to add two more questions.
- How important is completing this to me, honestly?
- What has been preventing me from moving forward?
Sometimes, when we reexamine those items we realize there’s a reason it’s been lingering around unaccomplished. There’s usually more to the story then just ‘lack of time’ that’s the root cause of why we haven’t completed our item. Instead of allowing that to continue, I want to encourage you to schedule the time if necessary, but spend a few minutes thinking about what those root causes are for you and work towards addressing them.
There is no reason to live with the stress of uncompleted tasks hanging over your head. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, but spend some intentional time working through the steps above. Address head on what YOU, alone, need to accomplish now and why it’s continued to be left undone. You’ve got this! The shot of dopamine you receive as you cross one of these big ‘un’dones off your list will be worth it, and you’ll be amazed the snowball effect that ensues!
One more request, let me hear from you! If you have comments or questions, if you’d add a 5th step to the list above, what would your suggestion be? That’s enough homework for today-no go out an accomplish great things!