Apr 1, 2013
My intention was to rid myself of all the to-do’s befuddling my mind before I had this baby. I wrote this post about the baby to do list. Not the avoidance of the to-do list that I spoke of here.
But there was more going on behind the scenes than gathering baby supplies and completing house projects. I had committed to completing much more. More than I realized. The truth is mine to tell but maybe I didn’t want to tell it to myself.
I’m a multifaceted girl. Not only do I have a blog, I have a big nasty house to clean and keep, animals and extended family that need care, and two men to take care of. Plus a baby. There’s laundry and cooking and I don’t think I accurately conceive of how much I intend to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis.
A few items I had wanted to complete before the baby was born, and may still be in the process of doing so:
Redecorate Eamon’s room
Plan Eamon’s 8th birthday party
Clean out garden beds
Take back Marks’ suitcase with wonky wheel
Design logo for the Culinary School for which I am on the board
Redesign husband’s website
Catch and spay stray cat in the backyard
And then remember, there’s still those tasks taken for granted. Like writing thank you notes, balancing the checkbook, watering the plants, changing the cat box, and changing the sheets on the bed. These tasks are a part of maintaining the life to which I’ve become accustomed. Can’t not do them.
I think that our unspoken unaccounted for to do lists can be a form of self sabotage. Our brains fill with purpose and promise of the power of accomplishment. But unlisted and unchecked and continually added to, our to do lists become monstrous brain tape worms.
And I suspect there is more of this going on than we realize. Feeding our anxieties and fueling our compulsions, we relive a low-grade post traumatic stress disorder kinda life. Never enough done and never enough food or alcohol or whatever to quell the voices that say we’ve not done enough or enough right.
My new MO is to attempt to write my thoughts and list them. And thus I can walk away for days. And not to add too many things back on the list that I can’t enjoy its clearing.
I am impressed with myself these days. Anything beyond the baby is a bonus. And I did get the new suitcase, design a kickin’ graphic, and redecorate that room. Call it will power, resolve, or stubbornness. But I’m taking names. Next.
Mar 3, 2013
For many, the “To Do” list is a favorite treasured angst. The baby/hospital prepare list and the bucket list are two other versions of lists at different life phases. Sometimes tasks are just tasks. And sometimes they hold more importance in your head than what they seem to on paper. There’s always one last item hanging on the list, and I should blow it off and ready my mental self to deliver the baby and move on… except, I’d be happier if this one last item were completed.
I thought of the scene from The Jerk where Steve Martin is backing out of the house naked under a robe saying, “ I don’t need anything except (he picks up the ashtray)…that’s all…just this ashtray…and this paddle game…remote control…matches…that’s all I need.” All I need to have happen before this baby comes is to complete the redecoration of the big brother’s room. That’s all I need.
Unfortunately, I ‘ve had too much time to actually complete these items. And I’ve commanded completion of said items over the borrowed time while awaiting this baby’s arrival. All except the daggone pillow covers I have put off for “sew” long. They are now sitting in front of me saying, no excuse, sew me or else. Just like during 2010′s Snowzilla snowstorm when I had nothing better to do than load those digital pictures into that digital picture frame for my in-laws. Surely I’ll be super proud of myself for having completed the procrastinated project. And then off to the hospital we will go.
I offer that the trick to getting your to do list done is to stop adding items to it. When I checked back on my list, I was able to mostly clear it. Except for burlapping the walls in the hallway (inhaling the fumes of spray adhesive while balancing on a ladder with a sharp cutting tool in my hand are prohibitive actions at this moment), those pillows are the (ma)lingering To Do.
So I’ll gladly delegate it to my Mom when she’s here helping, hee hee, and have a seat to watch that Netflix movie that’s been on the shelf for a month, I promise. But don’t expect me to nap while the baby’s napping. Once I know the baby’s flavor, blue or pink, there’s baby room in need of redecorating. You know I’ve always been a nester. I’m happier that way.
Jan 17, 2013
The avoidance of doing things we have to do emerged as a theme this week at my house. Our reasons for avoidance seemed to include anticipation of pain and discomfort, lack of clarity, lack of priorities, and fear. And a little I don’t like to be told what to do.
Whether on paper or in our heads, the things to do list exists. These items may be for our well-being or another’s, for progress, clarity, or growth but we know why they’re necessary to carry out. And yet we question and avoid them all the same.
I needed a lot of physical things accomplished this past week. And as the time unfurled in which I wanted to get them done, I realized my husband had his own list and he would be of no help. Physically, I dread even going up stairs. And I knew my tasks involved multiple stair efforts.
I was irritable in anticipation. I snapped at my husband Mark and said he needed to stay right at the desk and finish the thing he kept saying he needed to finish. Because if I heard him say he needed to finish it one more time, I would throttle him. Then I enlisted my seven year-old’s help and plowed ahead. I snapped and growled and ached and groaned. And eventually I was done. Mark eventually completed his task as well.
Then Mark had to go shopping for essential rain gear for an outdoor job called the Presidential Inauguration the next day. He “remembered” this late in the afternoon. I told him he needed to go immediately and just get it done. He sat at the desk to do “research”. He called someone. When he finally made it out the door, he admitted he didn’t feel like going out in the rain and getting gas. And he dreads shopping. Bye, bye I said.
Of course, he completed his mission and got exactly what he needed all by his shopping-phobic self. I had gotten through my forced march of to do’s even though it was slightly painful. But with this last hurrah of my all day morning sickness, everything is painful. When you do what you feel needs to be done, you feel good about yourself. And that is the real goal. And it doesn’t hurt to drop those things which aren’t necessary.
As I am now faced with a To Do list that seems to grow as my energy depletes, I have to prioritize, delegate, and figure out where the real blocks are. Are the blocks based on physical restraints, time restrictions, “I don’t know how” oriented, a need for supplies or equipment, or are you waiting for nice weather. Once I have discovered my reason for avoidance, I can make better choices to help myself out of the “I can’ts” and into the “I did its”. Wish me luck, I’m going in.
Sep 25, 2012
It’s Monday and the “To Do” list is about to take on biblical proportions. There were those items that weren’t quite completed from last week. And many more to-dos were spawned over the weekend. I did manage to mow the lawn (not on the list) and relaxed (mandatory). Why does this beast perplex me so? (Previous prioritizing preponderances are pondered here.)
Monday always seems to be laundry day which means I will be housebound listening for the infernal beep beep beep of the dryer or washer every half hour to an hour. Of course, this activity hasn’t even made it onto the list. Nor has the recycling that I just loaded into the car. (more…)