It is easy to expect too much of ourselves. We can write long to-do lists which visually tell our brains we are being productive. We can try and pack so much into our days we have no time left to think, or to rest. But, we don’t always need to spend our time the way the world tells us is ‘productive’. Our time is precious. We must figure out what matters to us and organise ourselves to spend more time doing it.
I have developed a liking of to-do lists over the past few months. They help me focus my energy into specific tasks. I thank my amazing brother for encouraging me to focus the unbridled and chaotic energy in my brain into a finite number of achievable tasks, and then write them down. Having them on paper means I can simply look and get stuck in, instead of having to think up what I will do then do it. It reduces a step. Though it requires a comparatively small amount of energy to think of what to do, next to actually doing it, my brain appreciates the assistance, especially when low on organisational energy. I will forget to put some things on a to-do list, but it is a tool that helps.
Today (yes it has apparently taken me thirty two years) I figured out the effectiveness of writing more achievable to-do lists. It is a small realisation, but one I see as a victory. If I write five important things on my daily to-do list, and set about doing them well, it is more encouraging than writing down all the things I want to do. To help, I’ve broken things down into meaningful categories to me:
- Spiritual; this includes reading scripture, prayer, and meeting regularly with friends from church.
- Creative; this involves playing guitar and writing music, and writing stories and poetry.
- Mental; including writing this blog, social interaction, and video games.
- Physical; including regular exercise and sleeping well.
- Life admin; including work, organising my google drive, keeping my room tidy, and writing to-do lists.
This not an exhaustive list (ha), it is a suggestion. If you decide to keep track of what you are going to do your lists will probably look different. This is a good thing. It shows we different reasons of thought and attunement to unique needs. Even with these things written down there is temptation for me to put more items on my daily list. It’s a work in progress, and I’m enjoying the challenge of finding the right balance. On the one hand, organising my time well enough to stay on track and complete projects in a timely fashion, eliminating unnecessary idle time. On the other hand, leaving time and space so I don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘I have to do this much to be succeessful today. It is a fine balancing act, and one which differs day to day depending on how much I sleep, how much energy my work takes for the day, and how well I eat.
Focus on what we can control and we will improve the likelihood of getting things done.
What kinds of things help you manage each day? Has this changed during social isolation and an altered life schedule? Are you finding time to effectively rest and embrace effective downtime?
Remember, you’re awesome. Kia kaha, dear readers.