When I started this experiment to go without a daily list, I really thought that I would probably cave after a day or two. I lived my life by my daily list. I really thought that it was a guiding factor to my day, and that without it, I wouldn’t get much done. But, I also felt I had to do a change because my daily list was creating so much stress in my life.
My goal is to keep to a simple, joyful life. Being chained to a made up list each day wasn’t making my life joyful.
So here’s how it went, and what I learned.
My list had things on it that a toddler could remember: like taking the dogs for a walk first thing in the morning, or feeding the pets, or making the bed. Honestly, if I have to write these basic things down, that I do everyday, I am worse off than I thought. Truth is, these were filler things to make my list look bigger and give myself the impression that I had done more.
I thought that without this daily list, I would forget to do things. Not true. It turns out my memory is pretty good. Most days were pretty productive and I as I went through my day I would find more things that needed tending. I would do them when I saw them; sometimes I already had the tool I needed for the job close at hand.
I thought my list was needed to keep me organized. It did organize my day to an extent, but not always with the right stuff. Because of that I would feel stressed an anxious because I could see there were other things that also needed to get done that day. Rather than cross something off my list, I’d just add it in to my already packed day. Most days I wouldn’t get to it or I’d work into the evening to finish it all.
I also thought that without my list, big projects would never get done. Again, for me, I was wrong. I would look at the list with the big projects and see that I had allotted x amount of time to do it. That would totally put me off and I’d focus on the rest of the long list to avoid the project. Then I’d feel like I failed myself. Without the list, I have gotten some of those projects done, and in a timeframe that suited the situation.
I thought that I was focusing on the now, because my list outlined my day for me. But, each day is new and different and it evolves of its own accord. My list was rigid with all of these must do things that could also get done another day. Without my list, I can stop and smell the flowers in my garden. I can look at what is really going on around me and take some time to nurture it. I don’t feel rushed and behind in my tasks.
I thought my list focused me on the important stuff. While household chores are necessary to keep the outdoors from taking over the indoors, there were a lot of important things that weren’t on my list: time tosped with my hubby and friends; time to spend exploring new places and talking to new people; time to spend learning a new language or dusting off my drawing skills. I had put those things to a mental “frivolous” list in my mind; things to be done only after the work was finished.
It turned out my reasons for daily my list had the opposite affect. By tossing out the rule book, I freed myself to enjoy what I do each day. I allowed myself permission to have fun, enjoy my loved ones, and give them priority in my life.
Instead of a daily list, I now have a pretty little book that I put dreams, sketches, and ideas into. Nothing in it says I have to do this thing at this time. It inspires me when I look at it.
What a change.
Who’d have thought?