Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 82: To-Do’s by the Twos

If you know me well, then you understand my penchant for over-scheduling myself to the point of becoming overwhelmed by my own ToDo lists. Though not clinically diagnosed, I truly feel that I can combine AR and OCD in such a way that even shrinks would shiver.

Ok, that may be a bit of an exaggeration.

But still. I feel that I may be over-analyzing things and trying to squeeze in so much positive change that the result will be devastatingly negative. So, in keeping with the spirit of the blog, I will make an honest effort to change even that to which I have subscribed in the spirit of change when I see it heading in the wrong direction.

Isn’t having the ability to change your mind – and your direction – a wonderful thing?

I want to go to bed at a decent time in order to get plenty of quality rest, but I have so much to do in the evenings, and I try to schedule and cram as much “work” into my evenings as possible. When the kids were small, I could only do such work after their bedtime. Now that they are relatively self-sufficient, I have about two more hours per evening. It is amazing what I can find to do to fill the time...and still run out of time.

No task ever takes only the amount of time I allot to it. I get submerged, sidetracked, and sucked in to a myriad of other tasks in the simple effort to complete one task. So I have taken stock, and I have noted that each “project” I intend to complete takes about 30 minutes to an hour. If I try to cram three or four projects into an evening, I go to bed late and disappointed that I didn’t finish everything. How helpful is that?

Starting now, I am limiting myself to two projects an evening. Yes, this means that it will take me longer to check off my ToDo lists, but if I was so great at checking them off in the first place, I wouldn’t be sharing this with you now.

When I am faced with dilemmas such as this, I hear my sister-in-law’s voice. At the end of Aaron’s first PreK year, when he was merely 3 years old, I had amassed a laundry basket full – I mean F-U-L-L – of his drawings, coloring papers, and craft projects from the school year. Determined to make it all into a neat little scrapbook, I asked for Kasie’s help. She took one look at my basket and said, “You know this isn’t all going in the book, don’t you?”

Come again????

“Lori, OMG! Half of this doesn’t even reflect HIM. How much imagination did it take to color this picture of a pumpkin? I mean REALLY!”

While I choked back fear, Kasie systematically perused the papers and crafts and pointed out reasons to keep those which were worthy, and reasons to ditch those which were not. She taught me to look for Aaron’s input and imagination in each paper and project, and not save something just because – woo hoo – he used scissors for the fifteenth time. She asked me over and over again, “What is this going to mean to you twenty years from now when you’re going through your attic?”

She taught me more than she realizes. From that single experience, I learned to look for true personal value in the things I want to keep and do. And, as is my nature, I get sidetracked and have to be reminded every once in a while that I’m focusing on the wrong thing.

Which brings me back to my original point. I cannot put true valuable effort into any project if I am spread too thin, especially if I get a bad attitude as a result. I can still impact the areas of my life that I want to impact. But I am going to pace myself. And if my two projects an evening end up consuming only half an hour, then I have an hour and a half left to relax. And I do believe I could use some forced relaxation!

So what is this going to mean to me twenty years from now when I’m going through my attic? Hopefully it will mean that I took enough time on my own well-being, that it allowed me the ability to take better care of the people and things I value.

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