Friday, January 29, 2010

To Do or Not To Do...

I'm not a big list maker. My sister-in-law makes lists. I've seen them on her chalkboard. She makes the list and then crosses things off when they are finished. Her list might say:

Car wash✓
Pay IPL bill
Get shower gift✓
Iron curtains

Each time I go over to their house, I'll see what she's accomplished on her list. Items rarely fester on that blackboard for more than a week. The task is posted, accomplished, checked off and replaced with a new to-do. What a system.

My To-Do list is mental. It is constantly being revised based on my mood, what time I wake up, how I feel, how Violet feels, what kind of mood she is in, what kind of nap she takes, what I am hungry for, what the weather is like, and how willing I am at each given moment to live with clutter. For instance, a quick glance around my living room right now reveals every DVD we own scattered on the floor around the entertainment center, a dozen or so of Vi's books on the floor near her book basket, one of my cookbooks on an end table, some laundry folded on the coffee table, and 7 other toys laying in random spots. Violet is napping. I could be straightening and making some real headway without the tot-tornado following behind me undoing my work. Cleaning and picking-up, like laundry, is always on the To Do list. But, I'm not into it right now.

There are several things I've done today that haven't been on my To Do list. I've brushed the dog. I made homemade brownies. I cleaned brownie batter off of Violet. I cleaned shampoo off of Violet. I cleaned blueberry juice (which is about as easy to remove as bank robbery ink) off of Violet. I made arrangements to pay two bills once we get our next paychecks. I called to make a reservation for our book club dinner. I'm writing a blog.

The mental To-Do's that I haven't gotten to yet today are also many. Write thank you notes for Christmas. Install printer to the Mac. Workout. Shower. And of course, clean up before Shawn gets home so he doesn't wonder what in Christ I've been doing all day.

The To-Do's I have actually done? I called Allstate and reported the minor accident I was in (2 weeks ago) so we can get my car fixed. Oh, yeah, I've done laundry, too.

Maybe writing the list down would motivate me to do more. Maybe it would help my nieces and nephews to get a birthday gift on time once and a while. Perhaps it would mean that we'd stop getting emails from the chick who bought our house telling us that she has yet another stack of our mail. Maybe a list would help us get those new insurance cards or paint the bathroom ceiling.

But it would probably just make me feel guilty for deviating from a plan. So I'd erase the original list with the thank yous and the workout on it and make a new fake To Do list of things I had already done:

brush dog✓
write blog✓

All those check marks are satisfying to look at. I think this might be a good system for me! And now, since I've accomplished so much, I'm going to take a nap!


Babs said...

That is hilarious! And it's just like me. Gretchen makes lists too. Somehow to me it always seemed like making a list would just use time I could be doing something else (or nothing at all!) But I admire people who actually stay on task like that...I just don't want to. And that's the real bottom line.

Aly said...

I'm laughing at the "iron curtains" part of my to-do list. I hope I never go that far! :)

I will confess to the following:
I write things down that I've already done. I also, after carefully scanning the room for witnesses, erase things that I find I really have no intention of doing. (washing the dog seems to have gone this route)

Oh- and please invite me over the next time you find homemade brownies on your list. love those baked goodies...