I organize my life through lists. I think that many people do, and for me (or us), it generally has been helpful.
Now, I organize my to-dos on post-it notes – this started back in college when I could accomplish everything in a day and tear it up at the end. Unfortunately, I have more to-dos than time, so I currently have about five or six post-its that I’m working on write now (in lieu of writing some fresh ones and tearing up some old ones, and also for longer term goals and shorter term ones – or just buying some larger paper, which seems like an obvious solution). Having this many going and out on my coffee table sometimes also adds to my feeling overwhelmed with how much I need to be doing (and how little I am getting done in comparison).
But – the other day, I developed a different kind of to-do list. I made one for my only day off this week, and it focused on actually relaxing and doing things just for myself (because I still knew that I would do laundry, take out the trash, etc. and resolved to do the mundane stuff in 1 hour or whenever the clothes finished drying) so most of my day off was actually mine to enjoy. Some of the things included:
- paint my toenails
- facial at home
- write health and fitness goals
- call and cancel subscription to company
- start blog for the week
Since I tried to limit my usual to-do tasks into one hour, I gave myself permission to not worry about not getting the calls and writing done. It didn’t make the cutoff, and clearly, the priorities of reading magazines and getting to a (free) yoga class are needed to prepare for a 6-day workweek. I didn’t make the hike either, but I again felt a sense of acceptance even after not meeting my to-do (and because it’s been really, really hot outside lately). Now that I finally have called to cancel that subscription, I’m finally tearing up that post-it note and writing another one out for tomorrow.
The intention was to help myself carve out time to do things that nourish me, and I found that because I gave myself that time, I made other good decisions, too (such as cooking a healthy lunch instead of finding something quick to eat once I realized I was hungry and needed to eat before that class, and then treating myself to a healthy drink after class that also just happened to be on an outrageous sale, so treating myself didn’t feel too guilty either). I hope to make a (relaxing and fun) to-do list for myself more often, and I hope you all try making one for yourself to see if it helps you give yourself permission to spend time doing what you love (when you very likely have a lot of other stuff that you need to work on, too, but that can’t be all the time).
How do you help organize yourself? What do you do when your system fails (or begins to no longer help)? And, of course, what’s your favorite kind of list to write?