I wrote the other day that:
“I’ve had more spare time on my hands than usual lately, and I seem to be squandering it. I should be working on household projects, writing, fostering friendships and other worthwhile endeavors. Instead I’m goofing around on the internet, puttering around the house and somehow wasting what should be a great opportunity. I know it’s because my focus is all over the place lately, but I should still be able to accomplish something with all the time I’ve been given.”
So when I found a moment without distraction yesterday, I took out a receipt and lowly pen and scrawled a to-do list for the day. Not an ambitious list, but a realistic list that includes a few things I’d been meaning to do, yet kept putting off. A list that included:
- Maintenance tasks like putting laundry away and planning and making a dinner.
- Daily tasks like writing a blog post.
- Avoided tasks such as clearing the piano bench and dining room desk.
- Tasks that only have to be done occasionally, but I’d somehow not been doing like sweeping the basement stairs.
- Random things I’d been meaning to do like putting a garbage bag in the car.
- Enjoyable tasks like calling my best friend Jennifer who lives on the East coast. (I always think to call her when it’s too late for her time zone.)
- Bigger tasks like going through a pile of paperwork to sort and shred. (Our shredder had stopped working and magically started working again, so there was a big backlog of papers to go through!)
Did I do everything on my list? Nope. I neither cleared the crap off the piano bench nor did I clear the small desk in the dining room. (We have a bad habit of clearing the dining room table for dinner by stacking stuff on these temptingly horizontal surfaces.)
But having a set to-do list did make me more efficient throughout the day. Accountability. In our app-happy internet age, people think that deliberate efficiency needs to be guided and organized electronically, but I find taking pen to paper is the most immediate and productive method for me. I doesn’t require turning on a device to check on my progress and I love physically ticking off my little boxes. I did sweep the basement steps after dinner last night which I am 100% certain I wouldn’t have done if it hadn’t been included it on my list.
I don’t write out a daily to-do list, as I feel that every moment of my day doesn’t need to be accounted for and justified. I’ve made deliberate decisions in my life to not be a busy, busy, busy person and it’s a slippery slope to let the management of a household eat up my every waking moment.
Are you a pen-to-paper list writer or do you take advantage of all the electronic age has to offer? Please share your methods and thoughts in the comments section below.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”
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