My brother likes to-do lists, writing down what needs to get done so it’s no longer just in his head. At times I have found them useful, and at other times they have fallen by the wayside. I love writing, especially by hand, so why not use this ability as encouragement to be productive?
Over the past week I have begun writing a to-do list before I go to bed. It takes me less than five minutes to write, and ensures I have the semblance of a plan to charge forward into the next day with. My to-do lists are not testimonies to what I will not achieve, more reminders of the things that will help my life move forward. Important tasks currently on the list are: praying in the morning, daily readings from the Bible Project’s reading plan, applying for one part-time job, searching flatmate wanted websites and sending one EOI for an appropriate room, writing at least two pages of the current chapter of my book, editing one chapter of my book from the beginning forward, write and publish blog posts on Monday and Friday, edit one section of the song I’m currently working on.
This list is not exhaustive. It is not what I must get done to feel my day has been successful. Each entry provides a prompt when I feel myself falling into the trap of idleness, when I feel I might succumb to the resistance. Even as I write I realise I must include entries which encourage self-care. Watch episodes of Critical Role, throw a frisbee – with friends or alone as is wise, write without constraint, play guitar for the joy of music, spend time with family and friends however we are able. If to-do lists are your thing remember they are a useful tool but not a replacement for necessary hard work.
In the deepest lows of my depression I struggle to see the good things, even obvious ones. My mind uses this emotion to create poetry and ideas for short stories. To help me remember these ideas I write them in a notepad app on my phone. Recently I have also started writing down when I have a good day. I write what I did, and why this meant it was a good day. I also try to remember how I made it happen – at minimum I was present so I was at least partly responsible!
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic ‘writing it down’ seems even more poignant. We often seek to achieve big things and only let ourselves celebrate when we achieve them. These bigger things are made up of little actions and events which build up, one by one, to merge into the larger whole. Doing the little things right, and over-planning now might save someone’s life. It sounds over the top, but it’s true. I would rather look back and think, ‘wow I put in a lot of effort’, than look back and think, ‘if only I had done more’. Get a job. Find a place to live. Look after myself. Prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Be proactive as often as you can, and reactive when you need to be.
Every little bit makes a difference. We can help everyone have the opportunity to thrive.
Dream big, embrace peace, love always.