Late yesterday afternoon I plopped onto the family room sofa next to my husband and sighed heavily.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, being well versed in my language of sighs.

“I can’t believe it’s already 5:30 and I haven’t made it more than a third of the way through my list,” I pouted.

He glanced away from his list… the extensive choices on his TiVo menu… and looked over at me.

“Why do you make your list so long?” he said calmly.  “You know you haven’t got a chance in hell of getting all that stuff  done in one day.  You’re only setting yourself up for failure.”

Nonplussed, I just shook my head and wandered into the kitchen to start dinner (which was not even on the list).

It’s maddening, but he’s actually right.  I do set myself up for failure because my expectations are always far too high.   There are always so many things I want/need/ plan to do, and never enough time to do them.  I seem to have lost the art of relaxation.  It’s so difficult for me to put the list aside and sit down with a book or go for a walk without feeling utterly guilty, my thoughts returning to the unattended items on the daily list.  There seems to be an increased sense of urgency to every day, and it makes me feel tired and out of balance.

 In future, perhaps  I should actually make a list that looks like this…

~Tea in the garden

~Bike ride through the park


~Pedicure and facial

~Lay in the chaise under the tree

~Watch a movie

~Long soak in the tub with candles 

I have a feeling this list would get completed in a jiffy.

How about you? Do you make lists?  Do you check off every item? What would be at the top of your “me only” list?


9 thoughts on “Listing

  1. I’m definitely a list maker. If it doesn’t get written down, it doesn’t happen. Ever. Of course, I rarely get through my list on any given day. Even the fun stuff.

  2. This is definitely a family gene. I too always feel like I haven’t done enough throughout the day to “deserve” lounging in my recliner to read a good book. I keep telling myself – when I retire things will be different – but I doubt it. But I have learned to break things up into smaller tasks. Instead of looking at all the flower beds I need to weed I just look at two and work on those and not think about the others. I’m getting better – maybe when I retire – naw, it’s just in the genes.

    • So you’re telling me there’s no hope for me, huh? LOL

      I do like the idea of thinking of things in smaller increments. If only there weren’t so darn may small increments to think of…

  3. I always make lists, always. And like yours, I seldom get everything done (but then the next day’s list is a little shorter and I know where to begin!

    There is great joy in crossing something off. Boom. Boom. Boom. And sometimes, the things you don’t check off — well, are they really worth doing?

    I’d get your second list done in a flash, too!

  4. You know I’m with you on this! And I agree with your husband. But I’m guilty of doing the same thing you do, my mind always working overtime. The irony is I’m not that efficient! One practical thing I’m trying to put into practice is categorizing my to-do list. This helps me put the stuff in blocks that make sense (easier on my tired little brain) and moving those blocks to either the appropriate time of day/day of the week. Having a “this week” list and a “later” list helps, too. At this point in my life, if I don’t write it down, I completely forget.

  5. I am a huge list maker! I think it helps on several accounts, the two most apparent being a.) with my memory and b.) with a sense of accomplishment. The only thing is, we need to be in charge of our lists, not have our lists in charge of us. Right? 😉

    Thanks for visiting my blog today.

  6. I do use lists, but I have different kinds.

    Some are real lists, like grocery lists. I never, ever would go to the store without a list, even if it only says “milk, eggs, celery”. I buy what’s on the list, and nothing else, and I leave.

    I use that kind of list for housekeeping chores and errands, too – they’re usually very short and very specific and I always cross everything off before I’m done. You know: “post office, meat market, get gas”.

    Then, I have another list that really is more of a guideline – reminders of things I need to do/want to do but which are more open ended. Answer email. Read blogs. Comments on blogs, Respond to blog comments. Play with the cat. Do some housecleaning at Mom’s. These things get fit in “wherever” because of my crazy work schedule.

    And then there’s the “someday” list: cleaning closets, finishing that great blog entry, going over to the new park, getting back to Louisiana, etc. I don’t actually do much from that list, but it’s good to have it hanging around!

    I used to be really obsessive about lists, but eventually I figured out if I spent the time actually doing something that I spent working on my lists, I wouldn’t need so many lists!

  7. help I didn’t know I was reading my mom’s blog 😉

    yes you should plan relaxation on your list and keep it shorter anyway! You have it in your own hands

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