17 July 2012

Never Enough

I am a list maker.  But since starting my new job, I have fallen away from the habit, at least in my non-working life.  It's discombobulating, this traveling through the day willy nilly, not knowing what I really want or need to get done.  So the other day, I made a HUGE list, of all the things large and small that are occupying my brain these days.  Some are straight-up "to-do" items, some are things to think about, some are more like long term goals.  There's a random shopping list of things we need...there's some parenting advice I'd like myself to take...there's ideas for organizing our household more effectively.  Here's a gander at my big ole list of brain stuff:



Tonight, after what was on the whole a pretty good day, I found myself wondering what exactly I had managed to do.  I looked at that big ole list, and discovered that I could cross exactly nothing off of it, after waking up 16 hours ago.

That was rather distressing.  So I did what compulsive list makers everywhere do: made a to-do list of things I had already done.  I made a To-Done list.  Here's what I came up with in about 5 minutes; I may have forgotten to include a few things:

  1. Cleaned out the fridge.
  2. Cleaned and packed up Katy's tent, so I can return it.
  3. Vacuumed out one of our living room chairs.  That was scary.
  4. Did 3-4 loads of laundry: folded AND put away.
  5. Helped the girls with their chicken-caring-duties for our neighbor who is out of town.
  6. Made potato-zucchini latkes.
  7. Participated in a 1 hour conference call with the Board of Directors for my new job.
  8. Worked for 2.5 hours on a grant proposal, also for my new job.
  9. Took my daughter's lovey-blankey to a seamstress to have it sewn up.  Returned at the end of the day to pick it up, so Little T would have it at bedtime.
  10. Did the graphic design/layout of the first 6 pages of the 2013 Garden Guide booklet.
  11. Finished a little bit (45 minutes?) of administrative work for a local maintenance gardener I am helping out for the summer.
  12. Made sure the kids did their daily chores.
  13. Picked apples from one of our trees -- so yummy! 
  14. Cleaned the kitchen.  Twice.
  15. Dug a sliver out of a child's finger.
  16. Updated Rick's work calendar and returned a couple work phone calls and emails for our garden design company.
  17. Went to Staples to buy printer cartridges and highlighters.
All of that and I didn't have a damn thing to cross out on the list I thought was pretty comprehensive.  I'm sort of in shock at what I got done today.  Truly -- I'm not usually this productive.  AND!  I didn't let the kids watch TV or play Wii at all today, so I was interacting with them all day long -- except for while I was working at the local internet cafe.  AND! I didn't even yell at anyone today!  Seriously, I am ON FIRE.  This would be a good time for me to tackle things like solving world hunger or finding a cure for cancer, don't you think?

I attribute some of this crazed productivity to the three cups of coffee I had this morning and the very large latte I had at 4pm as I started working on my grant proposal.  I will weep real tears the day a doctor tells me to cut caffeine out of my diet.  

But the sad part of this day is that I will still lay my head on my pillow with more to do than I woke up with.  The to do list always grows: I always add more things than I cross off in a given day.  It's never enough.  Never.

I'm feeling quite reflective about that.  Enough for what?  Enough to be happy?  No...I can be happy without crossing stuff off my to-do list.  Enough to have a nice cold beer at the end of the day?  Well of course!  Enough to put the list away?  Um, no.  I can be proud of how much I got done today, but it's not enough for me to look forward to tomorrow as a day to relax and not think about crossing things off.  If I decide to relax for a day or an afternoon, I do so knowing that I will pay the price of the list getting even longer during the time I spend napping, walking the dog, playing with the kids, or reading a book.

That doth suck.

But I'm still proud of myself for today.

Not least of which for #18: Wrote a blog post.

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3 comments:

MotherOfGooses said...

The To-Done list is the answer to my prayers! thanks for that suggestion. I am wedged between a rock and hard place. There are too many random tasks floating around looking for a home on a to-do list and yet, as soon as they get there, they can stay there for a long time. Ultimately I want add, be done with every task ever. I have a hard job making peace with the undoneness of it all. Good job on the productivity...that to-done list really has a role to play in boosting our awareness of exactly just how much DOES get done when we are worried about all the stuff that doesn't.

Unknown said...

All I've got to say to that is, "Monica, you're awesome and never forget it!"

Monica said...

Motherof Gooses: so glad you can steal the To Done idea. Enjoy!

And Unknown: Thank you! And who are you? :)