Organize photos on the phone.
Replace light bulbs on front porch.
Buy a shower curtain for the upstairs bathroom.
Plan the haircut.
Just a few things on my “to do” list.
Nothing too exciting. Or time consuming. But something to motivate me to move in the morning and get something done for the day.
Rarely is there anything so pressing that he can’t wait another day or two to tackle it. But I like to start with a plan. A flexible plan that can be adjusted as needed.
Plus, making lists is a hard habit to break. Especially since it’s worked pretty well in cutting through the chaos of raising four kids, pursuing a career, and even taking time out for a few hobbies and writing projects.
I couldn’t have done it without my handy family calendar.
He provided all the tactical information I needed to get everyone where they needed to go, on time, with the proper gear, and back home whether it was a school outing , a sporting event or a visit to the doctor.
On days when I was faced with a particularly long to-do list, I would sometimes cheat.
I might write an item or two that was “pending” – that is, partially completed. That way I could wrap it up early, cross it off the list, and feel like I was making progress from the start. That initial thrill of victory kept me from suffering the agony of defeat as I lost momentum.
Even with that extra boost, however, my system had its flaws. Misstep. Things that sometimes go haywire.
I admit I dropped the ball a few times when I went rogue – relying on my dodgy memory to do what needed to be done instead of checking my trust list.
For example, picking up a child or two after school. Not that an extra 15 minutes in a guarded library full of fascinating books puts them at risk. However, the children were probably skimming through the psychology section on abandonment issues that would be discussed years later in their therapy sessions.
Then, for an overnight football game, my handy dandy list included printed instructions (pre-GPS), hotel reservation confirmation, snacks, and other necessities. I left it up to my player to pack their own gear. He came so close to remembering the key items – uniform, shin guards, socks, water bottle – but… no “lucky” cleats – one of the main pieces of equipment to play in the tournament.
Luckily we had left early, found a sporting goods store about to open, and bought an emergency replacement pair on sale, which was cheaper than flying home to pick up the other one. pair.
Future lists included a quick gym bag check.
More recently I managed to help our eldest daughter with some banking matters while she was living in Spain. It just took a long list of understanding international laws, money conversions and transfer policies to accomplish this feat.
Although the kids are all grown up now, I still try to keep track of their whereabouts. and give them gentle reminders about the things on my list that affect them.
Like travel plans when we need a cat sitter.
There was a brief lull in my obsession with making lists during COVID. Nothing was as urgent as staying healthy. There was no logic in writing the same thing over and over again: avoid human contact. Wear a mask as a precaution. Lily. To write. Walking. Play with cats. Shower. Sleep. Repeat.
It was all easy to remember. I didn’t need a list to remind me. But, I am a goal oriented and action oriented person. I feel adrift if, before going to bed, I have no idea how the next day might turn out.
Of course, the unexpected can happen at any time.
Something that outweighs everything else in importance. Like a five-hour ER visit for a girl’s post-op issues. Car problem. Plumbing problems.
This list, over which I have no control, can be quite daunting as there is nothing you can anticipate. Or ignore.
I tried to share the joys and satisfaction of my organizational strategy with others, mainly my husband. I even customized a few lists for him:
Paint the exterior door a welcoming red
Move a massive collection of paranormal books out of our bedroom and into the basement.
Squirrel proof bird feeder in the garden.
Remove any foreign substance growing in the back of the refrigerator.
He has yet to thank me for starting him on his own roster-building journey. But I’m sure he’ll put it on his next to-do list.