Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pass the Tums . . . My To-Do List is Giving Me Heartburn!

Here I am on yet another Sunday evening, the conclusion of a fantastically fun weekend filled with a good balance of work and play, and I am popping antacids while reviewing a To Do List that has four times more untouched items than crossed off items.  There are things on this list that have been there for months.  It feels like no matter how hard or how many hours I work, I just can't get everything done.

A perfect illustration from this morning - I finally got to the point where I was not setting a foot in the shower until I scrubbed it!  When I pulled out the tile cleanser it was covered with a thick layer of dust!  I literally had to clean off the bottle of cleanser before I could clean the shower.  How disgusting is that?  Obviously, "scrub shower" has been a long-time member of the "Things-Lisa-REALLY-Needs-To-Do-but-Never-Seems-to-Get-Around-to-Doing Club."

Back to my current rapid heart beat and rising anxiety - As I looked over my List, I remembered that when I bent over to get the tile cleanser, I noticed my magazine basket - also covered with a layer of dust.  In the moment, I quickly sorted through it tossing most of it's contents in the trash.  Just now I went back and retrieved the March 2014 issue of O that I had carelessly tossed.  Written in large print across the cover - De-Clutter Your Life 2014 - O's annual guide to clearing some space in your head, your heart, your sock drawer.  Peter Walsh, my most favorite professional organizer, shares 12 rules for de-cluttering.  I found a very helpful tip for my perpetually never-ending To-Do List in Rule No. 6: FINISH THE CYCLE.

Consider your washing machine: You'd never fill it with dirty clothes, let it run for 20 minutes, then turn it off and let the clothes sit for two days.  That would create a stinky mess!  So it is with our daily routines: Doing things halfway wreaks havoc.
That's why it is important to finish each cycle. (page 113)
Peter Walsh
I'm a bad finisher.  I'm a great starter, but I struggle with wrapping things up.  Look at the example I just gave you.  I set out to scrub the shower, saw the magazine basket and before I truly thought about what I was doing, I was sorting through the magazines.  Now I did finish the cycle with the shower (it was THAT bad that I could ignore it no longer), but I can look at the projects I set out to complete this weekend and see unfinished steps along the way.  I sorted through my clothes organizing my closet and dresser drawers.  It looks great!  However, what is laying on the floor in front of my dresser right at this moment and therefore preventing me from crossing it off my List? The pile of clothes that I am donating to Goodwill.  I can't even remember what stopped me from putting the final touch on that project.  Now, because I am thinking about this problem of mine I will go down to the basement, bag it and take it to my car, but I bet it sits in my trunk for weeks before I actually stop and drop it off.  Nope - I'm turning over a new leaf - I'm going to drop it off tomorrow.  I need to finish the cycle

By finishing the cycle, I will complete more items on my List rather than starting five tasks and completing zero.  It sounds simple but it makes sense.  It sounds simple but I know I'm going to have to work hard to change me ways.
I actually have multiple To Do Lists - one for home, one for work and one for me.  My Daily Me List always includes the same items:
  • Time with God
  • Exercise
  • Kids Exercise
  • Time with my hubby
  • List three things I'm grateful for (I've been working hard to keep my Negative Nellie side under control!)
I confess that I don't always get each one crossed off every day.  I try and some days that's the best I can offer.  Maybe with a new focus of finishing the cycle, I won't be so stressed out by my other two To Do Lists and I'll have time and energy to get to these five tasks every day.  After all, I learned several years ago that . . .


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