Sued51's Blog

{January 10, 2011}   Lists, Lists, and More Lists

I’ve spent a lot of time since New Year’s day writing lists or thinking about writing lists — daily lists, weekly lists, and monthly lists; lists of things my husband wants me to do, lists of things we need to get done as a couple, and lists of things I want to do.  I’ve tried to mind dump approach, but it seems endless.  I’m trying to figure out what I have to do and what I can cut out, but there’s too many important things (well, they are important to somebody in my life, whether it is my husband, me, or my mother…).  Is it making me feel like I can make a plan and set goals?  Is it making me feel like I get organized?  No, so far it is making me panic more — I don’t think that’s how it is supposed to work.

I know that I have to do something.  Right now my days off seem to disappear in a fog of small everyday tasks such as making meals, doing dishes, emptying wastebaskets, reading emails, scooping the cat box, folding laundry…on and on and on.  And all the things I SHOULD be doing to combat the panic and anxiety — meditation, prayer, exercise — I don’t fit in because all they do is eat up more time!  (Although, exercising gives my brain a jumpstart, but that ends in my adding more to my lists.)

As I have been helping my mother go through the piles of paperwork my father accumulated, guess what we’ve found a lot of?  Lists.  I’m sure it did help him get some stuff done.  I also think that he would often misplace his list and have to make a new one.  But the bottom line was, bless him, he didn’t have the energy or the time to accomplish everything on his lists; I know he wanted to, desperately, but he knew his time was limited.  Unfortunately he didn’t do some of the practical things he should have done.  (You can learn a lot about a person by looking at their “to do” lists.  Like me, some of his lists were just random thoughts or ideas about creative projects; he was imaginative and needed escapes from reality.)

I DO understand you can’t get caught up on years of being behind in a few days, so I’m making progress with some small steps.  I’ve cut back on my groups on LinkedIn and I’ve “unfriended” some people on Facebook, in an effort to cut back on emails and distractions that are simply unproductive.  (I wasn’t really “there” for those people or things anyway.)  And I continue to make lists — eventually the lists will force me to see what I don’t want to face: that I HAVE to narrow my focus and lower my expectations of myself, despite the initial pain I will feel about giving up some things.  Life really is short and the phrase, “No pain, No gain” (as has been said about working out or dieting) applies here as well.

There is no “Superwoman” and there’s a reason they haven’t made a “Wonder Woman” movie yet.

Many years ago, before the days of mobile phones even, when I was writing on a regular basis, I was told by an established journo to always have a pen and paper with me – everywhere.

I did for many years, making sure that every jacket or pair of trousers I owned had decent sized pockets.

For a few years now I have managed to be disciplined enough to use one notebook for my days to day scribblings. When I finish one, I start another – same size, but different colour cover. The completed one is stored, as there is always a phone number, plant variety, or record of purchase that warrants recollection at a later date.

No-one’s ever going to get rich publishing the contents, but I can check back to see the name of the orange dahlia that won a prize at the allotment show in 2008.


sued51 says:

As a serious gardener I believe you have to do that; good for you.
Unfortunately I have one notebook for blog ideas and one for “journaling” as well as my 10-year journal for quick “diary-type” entries. I also have a little notebook in my purse for ideas, etc.
There’s a blog I read regularly called The Simple Dollar ( and the author also has “the little notebook.” He wrote a blog about it some months ago. Somehow it works better for me than putting it on my phone or sending myself an email…something I love about the notebook.


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