This week I saw our first glimpse into the holidays.
We ran to Kroger to get a loaf of bread to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch (meal of champions), and right there next to the pumpkins, there it was. There was an entire slew of Santa and snowman ceramics, and it isn’t even Halloween yet! I know "they" always say the holidays come earlier and earlier every year, but I just wasn’t prepared for Frosty yet.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, but I’d be kidding myself to think they come without their own special set of stresses. Although the premature Christmas display enticed me, an innate sense of anxiety over the epic to-do list that is sure to come crept up quickly.
Speaking of to-do lists… Some of the best task-management advice I’ve ever gotten was to create a daily to-do list. I was listening to a very wise woman, and when she shared this pearl of wisdom, I thought, “Daily … did she say daily … like every day?”
For whatever reason, it seemed like a lot of work at first, but I decided to give it a shot. I committed to making a to-do list every single day for a month. Want to know what happened?
I got things DONE!
Every morning, after coffee, of course, I sat down for about five minutes to write down everything I wanted to get done that day – big and small. Whether it was do the laundry, walk the dog, edit pictures or get the financial report done, it all went on the list, and I made a point to reference four to five times throughout the day. That may sound like overkill, but it happened quite naturally. Every time I found myself looking around the kitchen thinking “what do I need to do?” I went over to my little list and picked something – BAM. By the end of the first day, I was astounded by how much more intentional and productive I was with my time.
With that said, not everything that made the list got done, and sometimes I put way more on there than was reasonable for one person to do in a day. However, it felt good to get those tasks out of my head. My to-do list has a way of nagging at me all day long, but if I put pen to paper and write it down somehow, I feel instantly “freed” of that anxiety. So even if it didn’t get done THAT day, I’d still written it down (in my planner… I’m a die-hard planner girl), and I could go back to it another time.
The list worked wonders, and I started to have a bit of fun with it. Some days I’d put “read a book to each child at bedtime” or “take a break!” Those are every bit as important as getting the laundry done or making an epic grocery list because it’s all, ALL about balance … right? We only have so much time in the day to get to things we have to do, and the things we want to do. Writing out that daily to-do list each morning helps me maximize my time, and feel less frenzied throughout the day … and maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel a bit less frenzied throughout the holidays too!
Jordan Schupbach is a mother of three living in the Houston area. She blogs at www.lattesandliving.com - sharing the good, the bad and the frenzied.