How long is your to-do list? I found out today that mine is 5 double sided single spaced pages- and still growing. The reason I know this, is because I came across some well-meaning advice. “Overwhelmed or stressed out? Write everything down that you have to get done, then cross things off as you get them done.”
Sounds good, right? As much as I love a feeling of empowerment, and an enthusiasm for crossing off lists, I thought this was a great idea. I usually have a little list of things I need to get done, like groceries and ordering materials, but I don’t always add all the things I’m supposed to remember. It was a shock to finally sit down and put everything to paper- and yet five double sided pages seems so wrong to me. I wrote in little letters too….
Yes, I will have to do every single thing on those pages sooner or later. Some of the things on the list are vital to the continuation of my business… but instead of giving me a feeling that I have a place to start- I’m flabbergasted at what I’ve allowed myself to commit to!
What was I thinking? Well, what most of us think probably. How if I just work a little harder or a little longer, I will see that much growth for my studio. If I stay up an extra hour to work on my website- I’ll get that much more traffic. If I grow a vegetable garden the size of my house- I’ll save so much at the grocery store, and be healthier to boot. If I make my little girls their pretty dresses- they’ll have wonderful memories for their entire lives….
So I’ve become ruthless. I’m going to take the radical step to ignore what other ‘successful’ people advocate, and focus on what works for my life. And guess what? It was very liberating to take my big red Sharpie and cross off things by the paragraph. I’m not going to gain anything by working myself sick and sleepless- no matter how important the activities are.
I must admit- I did add a few things into my list. There are great big blocks of time devoted to blowing bubbles and drinking homemade lemonade on my front porch with the kids. I traded in working in the garden for going to the park. And I adopted a rather flexible schedule for all my paperwork that really does need to get done. If my list for the day isn’t done- oh well. My work day ends promptly at 5pm.
It doesn’t help that I really love most of these activities. I like making my girls’ dresses, and polishing my website. I will have to constantly guard against over-sechduling in the future. Right now, however, I believe it’s time for a glass of lemonade.