So I have about 30 to-do lists floating around my life at any given time. Some of them are lists in a notebook, others are digital lists “guaranteed” to help me remember, and the majority are sad, lonely Post-it notes reminding me of many once important thoughts. It seems like every time I dig in to the bottom of my purse I find something in there to remind me of the tasks I have left to accomplish. In fact as I write this, I see reminders to write thank you cards, send an update to my boss, draft a piece on how to use Facebook groups, get a picture from a co-worker, and that’s just without turning my head to see what’s on the rest of my desk. In fact, on any given day, my desk is usually 30% covered in dry erase notes to myself.
It’s amazing how quickly those tasks accumulate and how slowly they’re resolved. One of my Post-it notes is covered in dust. In fact, I’ve already paused writing several times in order to make small advances in several of the tasks on my list and start a new to do list that will somehow encompass everything and eliminate the need for all other lists. *Spoiler alert: It probably will not.
While I do not deny that knowing what you have to do is important, I have to admit it stresses me out to see it all around me. Some people are comforted by to-do lists. I am not one of those people. But what I have come to realize about myself is that I need to-done lists. I often go non-stop through 10 hours of work and at the end of the day feel like I did nothing. I don’t know if you’ve ever found yourself asking that horrible question, “Wait, what did I even do today?” That’s where my to-done list comes in handy. I slowly write down what I’ve accomplished it when I accomplish it and before long, I’m seeing where all that time went, and I can be proud of my day.
However, my most valuable to-do list is in a special notebook always within sight on my desk at home.
It has a prominent place as I push myself to review it daily whether I feel like it or not. Perhaps especially when I don’t feel like it. That’s my self care to-do list. I feel silly making it sometimes. It’s not natural for many of us to sit down and consciously think about what actions we will take throughout the week to take care of ourselves. But when I cross something off my self care list, not only do I feel accomplished, but I know that I’ve given myself one more piece of strength to get through the week. None of my tasks here are earth shattering. Here are a few examples of what my list may include:
- Buy myself fresh flowers for my desk
- Take a bubble bath
- Spend 1 hour in bed reading
- Sit in a coffee shop people watching for 45 minutes
- Leave work on time
- Listen to a whole album with my eyes closed, single-tasking