When the to-do list doesn’t do it

I am a list maker by nature. When I know I have things that need to get done, I write them down on a handy dandy list and cross the items off as I finish them much faster than I otherwise normally would. Something about writing it all down helps me focus.

Then there are days like today where I cross things off the list and I don’t feel better. I don’t feel the accomplishment that I usually do. I don’t feel lighter. Instead, I feel heavier.

So what’s a person to do when the to do list isn’t cutting it?

This week has been so busy, and so has last week, and my daughter is getting more and more in my face. Maybe that’s a sign. Maybe that’s my sign to step back and just BE for a while. What if I were to try just BEING today instead of trying to DO all the time?

I am generally okay at putting the to do list to the side to relax or hang out with kids, but the past two weeks, it’s been much harder to sit down and exist with them or play with them. I find myself drawn over and over the lie of busyness, that I must be DOING in order to feel better or to feel accomplishment.

I wonder if the answer doesn’t run in the opposite way? That perhaps racing to just FINISH something isn’t the answer at all? That perhaps sitting and being more still is the answer? Figuring out how to engage the kids in playing with them. Figuring out their games. Not worrying about replying to that text or checking for the millionth time if I’ve gotten this email or that or if someone FINALLY answered my question on social media.

What if settling down and focusing on the important is really what’s important?

Maybe I’ve simply run myself a little ragged and I need to try to go the other direction. Maybe I need to look at walks differently, while they are good, I can get into the mindset that I should walk so I can cross off being present with the kids, but am I really being present? Or am I spending more time thinking about what I’ll do after that? After I’ve crossed off my ‘time with kids’ unwritten item on my list?

Maybe today, I’ll try something different. Maybe I’ll try to really spend quality time with them this morning so that they are READY for me to disappear and “do other things” after snack time. Instead of pretending that I’m around in the morning, I could actually be around. I could slow down a little and see the world through their eyes and ENJOY it.

I seem to need this reminder more often than I’d like to admit, but that is the process of growth, isn’t it? Reflecting, acknowledging, changing, growing.

Does your to-do list sometimes not cut it? What do you do then?


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