Freedom From the Tyranny of the To-Do List

Freedom from the tyranny of your to-do list (2)

From a To-Do List to a To-Don’t List

It is so lovely to have Sharon from Rediscovered Families as my guest blogger today. Sharon is a long time reader and supporter of The Multitasking Mummy and lives all the way over in Alberta, Canada. At Rediscovered Families Sharon writes about building relationships and creating deep connections with your family. It’s a very fun blog and I’m sure she’d love your company!


I have a love hate relationship with my to-do list. On the one hand I find it useful to jot things down on the list, so that I will remember to do them. I like having all my “to dos” in one place. And I must confess that I really like checking things off my list. It is so satisfying!

BUT my list can be a tyrant! Its voice is way too loud and it takes up far too much brain space. There are times when I find it really hard to enjoy the moment, because I am so conscious of all the things left to do. And that’s the trouble isn’t it? The wretched thing is never satisfied, because I rarely cross everything off my list. It nags in the back of my subconscious

You should answer that e-mail.

You should clean the bathroom, suppose someone comes to the house?

You mean you haven’t written that book yet? What’s wrong with you?

The garden is in a state! What will people think?

What? You didn’t exercise again!

Do this

Do that.

Nag

Nag

Nag

noisy mind
Image by imagerymajestic on freedigitalphotos.net

Now I have to admit that I have got much better at silencing my list. I think it’s something that comes with age and of course I no longer have children at home. Still there are times when I allow that darn list to drive me hard. I end up trying to do too much and neglecting what is really important. Then I get cranky and sometimes take out my frustration on my loved ones or those around me. Sound familiar?

Last January I read an inspired post over at The Art of Simple about a different kind of list. The to-don’t list.  Have you ever read a post that really changes the way you think? This was one of those posts. Here’s a few snips

“We get so wrapped up about Getting Stuff Done, or about defining our value in our accomplishments, our busyness. But is that really what life’s all about? Crossing off a to-do list isn’t a bad thing, but this isn’t the core of our life’s meaning, what really makes up the sum purpose of our days.”

“So notice what you don’t want to accomplish, just as much as you do. And if it’s hard for you to even think of what you don’t want to do, ask yourself if you’re trying to do too much—or, at least feel like you’re supposed to do more than what’s possible. Because it’s perfectly okay—no, it’s AWESOMELY okay—that you don’t do stuff. Really. Slow down and smell the roses, and if you’re too busy to get a whiff, it’s time to make a to-don’t list.”

WAIT… I don’t have to do everything on my to-do list?! I can have a to-don’t list? This sounded really good to me.

I can hear you asking what things might be on your to-don’t list? Here are a few of mine

Don’t do everything on my to-do list. YES!!

Don’t clean the bathroom; it’s good enough for today.

Don’t have my e-mail on 24/7. I can check twice a day.

Don’t read that book, just because everyone else is reading it. Read what YOU want.

Don’t buy an iPhone 6

Don’t stay up too late.

Don’t keep all that china I don’t use.

Here are some of the things that I might have had on my list when my boys were still at home

Don’t feel guilty about jumping in the leaves instead of spending hours organizing fall activities

Don’t make beautifully decorated cupcakes for school. Buy them instead.

Don’t worry if your children leave the house in mismatched socks! (Can you believe I would obsess about that?! How silly!)

Don’t say yes to every request.

Don’t sign up for after school activities every day of the week.

Don’t volunteer at church/school/extra curricular groups – unless you will be energized by the activity.

Don’t feel guilty about cooking something frozen for supper.

Don’t cook something new everyday. Reheat leftovers.

Don’t feel you have to justify anything that is on your to-don’t list list. You don’t!

So if you want to find freedom from the tyranny of your to-do list, realize that your world doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to do everything. Take a moment, look at your list, and move most of the items to your to-don’t list. Apply the 3 d’s defer, delete, or delegate.

Perhaps if we get good at moving stuff to our to-don’t list then we can get to the things that call to our heart. Things like exercising, spending time with family, writing that book or other creative endeavors. Try it you will find it quite liberating. Then go and enjoy the space you have created in your life.

We are enjoying the glory days of fall here in northern Alberta. We know that there are a few warm weeks left before the colder weather settles in. Today I DON’T have to spend every waking minute in front of my computer working. Instead I will spend some time on the veranda with Ken Follett’s latest novel and go for a walk with my fella.

So tell me what things will you put on your to-don’t list right now?

 

image by john.schultz on flickr

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)

Eva is the Editor and Owner of The Multitasking Woman - a lifestyle and parenting blog.She always has her fingers in many different pies but wouldn't have it any other way. Eva is a Mum to her 4-year-old son, 2 month old daughter, two chickens, one dog and a fish called Bob and a wife to Mr G. They all live happily in their little cottage on the outskirts of Brisbane.

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1 Comment

  1. September 28, 2014 / 10:28 pm

    A To Don’t list – I like it! Mind you, I’d probably become just as anal about my to don’ts as I am about my to dos. Sigh. x