Why We Make Lists

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It is Friday, the end of another busy week. And a blessed weekend arises with the rare “nothing” on the calendar. Oh it’s not as if someone hasn’t encouraged us to put things on it. We’ve even said “no” to some fun but last minute invites. But we need this calm before the storm. The already busy season of the last quarter of the year is upon us and we have a triple whammy coming up -Christmas, Mom’s Move, and Year End at Work, and some Travel. Even though much of it is exciting and fun, it all takes time and time is hard to come by. Time is, by far, the most precious “commodity”, if you will, that is hard to come by!

If we sat on a sofa all day and had all day to think and putt, we might not need a list – depends on your memory I suppose. But we don’t.

So why do we bother making lists? Why do we do this to ourselves?

  • We get more done when we have a list
  • We remember what it was we wanted or needed to do when it’s written down
  • We get to do more of what WE WANT TO DO when we are organized
  • With a to do list, you never get bored
  • We desire to live our best life which is not meant to be sitting on a sofa unless that is where we want to be to watch or show or read
  • We don’t forget important things
  • We can prioritize and do the most important things first
  • A list helps us avoid forgetting things and avoid surprises that crop up having done so
  • Planning is important to us as time is precious
  • It’s true: If you don’t plan your own time, other’s will plan it for you
  • When we plan, we are in control of our own destiny instead of just a haphazard feather in the wind
  • We would NOT be organized if we didn’t make lists
  • We LOVE to make lists and choose to embrace them
  • When it’s on a list you don’t have to keep rolling it around in your brain afraid you will forget
  • The lists we make are not just chores, but fun things we’d like or want to do
  • We had rather live an organized life than one of chaos

Filling the Creative Side

If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know that my frustration level increases when I do not get time to work on things that are important to me. There is a creative side of me that I feel I was born for, that I’m not getting to use enough. I can push it down and push it down but then eventually it has to come out. The creative side of me craves to be organized and planned, and have it all together. Let’s switch to third person. lol. She loves to write, be artsy, and create. She longs to be helpful in her creativity to others. She longs to complete her list to make a difference and to feel accomplished. She is there to be creative to make things better. She organizes clutter and chaos into a more perfect world. She puts analysis and meaning to misunderstanding. If she ignores this side of herself she becomes frustrated, impractical, and feels unworthy and unfinished to her calling.

Aside from my persona and wanting to live an organized and improved life and have time for my creative side, I have to be organized. So there’s FT work, there’s George, and now Mom needing extra care, we long to see friends, and there’s our house and of course all of the responsibilities that come with it. There’s doc appointments, houses being built, grandson we want to see, trips we would like to take. There is only so much time in the day.

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My planner has become my 2nd Bible. While God leads me along in Bible number 1. My planner is Bible 2! I know it irritates people when I have to pull out the planner to make an appointment or see if we are free. We work FT and my employer naturally expects me to be there for a committed amount of time. While some of it can be tossed around or moved around, I am expected to be there for the bulk of the week. If am to work FT, I must meet this commitment.

But the level of use of my planner this summer has been on OVERLOAD. Usually with just my appointments things are no big deal, I can easily work those in around work. Mom being on board in our family has upped the game with doctor appointments, especially with the two moves, finding and building and buying a house, setting up storage places, selling a house, living with us and reorganizing our place, and it’s brought a bit of anxiety in the juggle of the schedule while trying to work FT.

I know that Mom feels like she is a nuisance. She feels bad. There is no reason to feel bad. It’s just how it is. We have committed to helping to take care of her needs. And it wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have our planner and our lists so we can try to fit all these things into the puzzle of life.

Recently, we went to the eye doc and we have to make appointments two months out as the doc office appointments fill up. The day they wanted us to come was a day I had plans to pull our Christmas together. I normally have a day to shop and a day to wrap. I know from years of experience what it takes for me to get Christmas ready. I have to have a complete day dedicated to wrapping. So I scheduled it. I was dismayed and didn’t want to have to give that up and suggested another date. And the doc office was able to find a second appointment that worked much better for me. Much to my surprise Mom said “I’m sorry I’m so much trouble” and began to cry and headed off into the hallway without me (can’t see after her shot – yikes) while I was talking to the lady and getting the appointment card.

I don’t know what to do. I explained to Mom – I’m glad they could accommodate us and make it a day I didn’t already have planned. I said it didn’t have anything to do with her, it had everything to do with me being able to get our family Christmas ready. I don’t think she realizes how little time I actually have and how much there is to do. And if I didn’t have my to do list, or a plan, I would simply plop into a chair and be done and not get anything done.

Of course then I’m drained for two days because not only do I end up bearing my own feelings, but of those around me, and what have I done to upset someone and why is this happening. Is it my fault? Did I do something wrong? Is this my punishment for trying so hard? What do I do?

Same day George comes home and says we’ve been invited to a Titan’s game Sunday. I immediately said “no!” He was upset with me, I could tell. He wanted to go but told them to give tickets to someone else. Now again I’ve disappointed someone or made them upset with me. Yet another person’s feelings to bear. But sometimes you have to protect yourself.

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Protecting Yourself

I can only be responsible for my own thoughts and feelings. I know my heart. I know I try to please everyone. Pleasing everyone I’ve learned forty times over, will never happen. Protecting yourself is not selfish. I am doing my best to fit everything in. I seek God and his word the first thing every day – not just on Sunday’s but every day. I put the needs of my family up high and the things we are trying to accomplish together. I try and keep an organized and clean as time allows household. I try to meet my employment obligations. I try and improve myself continually both mentally and physically. I try and maintain friendships. I try to spark my writing and creativity and travel and exploring with what time I have left. Life is busy and it throws curve balls. It takes a lot of juggling to try and fit ALL the pieces of life and its increasing challenges onto the plate of life we have. If I don’t have a list or a slice of time with something written on it – it’ll fall in the floor and get lost, it won’t exist, and that “thing” won’t happen.

Those around me should be happy that I make lists. It’s better for them if I do. And sometimes that means saying no to something else not because you don’t want to see that person or not because that person is a burden (they are not) but because you simply need to move around the pieces to make things work and tick. Embrace those around you that like to make lists and plans. Be glad and grateful that they do. That means they are productive, they care, and they are trying to live their best life.

It may mean they have to say no to spur of the moment activities. If you have gone at 500 mile an hour speeds for several days and it’s 7 p.m. and you want to sit on your sofa and read or watch Netflix – so be it. It’s each person’s decision to make and do what they want with the time they have. Each person knows his own needs not to be judged by another. We don’t have to accept every obligation just because the time is not filled already.

And I could type more but – you guessed it – the time and planner says I need to go to work! My personal allotment of time is now over and probably for the day. I’m going to work and work on Friday payroll prep and unemployment returns, then I have plans to get a mani/pedi after work because it’s been a heck of a week so far and I’m overdue. I will plan to sit and read all 263 personal emails while there, one of which is about Mom’s closing of her house coming up. And then I’ll come home, eat, throw in laundry and sleep.

More tomorrow! Lord Willing and the planner calendar is not overthrown. 🙂

7 responses to “Why We Make Lists”

  1. Oh dear poor you, it is awful when you are made to feel guilty for something you havnt done or that someone perceives you have meant to hurt them….I occasionally have the same feelings, but I’ve not got the answers…..personally if I know that I haven’t meant to upset someone no matter how much they may think I have, I say sorry and try immediately to forget it and put it out of my mind. If the person still feels miffed that’s their guilty feeling they need to cope with it themselves. ( I am going through a similar situation myself so I’m speaking from my heart, and it ain’t easy, but if I don’t forget I could go on for a long time trying to fathom out whatever it’s about….so sorry, forget..’). It mustn’t mar my tomorrows.
    I must go soon and get ready for my old neighbour coming over to play Majong, at 90 she just likes to come over for the company I think……it’s a chilly old day over here temp is only 12c that’s at almost 2pm. I hand washed a jumper this morning hoping it would dry as the sun was shining, but I’m going to have to bring it in and put it on the radiator for as long as it takes to dry. Hope things go well in the office today. How did Mum get in with her eye appointment yesterday.? I’m glad your having your pedi tonight I know that gives you a wee while to try to relax a bit.
    Drive safely home, I think your a bit later getting home so hope there’s not too much traffic. God Bless

    • Enjoy Mahjong! The eye injection went well. A bit of discomfort the rest of the evening for her. I’m doing the best I can do with what I have and the emotional baggage is what drains me the most and what I fear the most. I just don’t need that piece of the pie. The way we do things may not be to another’s taste but if one is in our life it’s to their advantage that we make like work. Or otherwise everyone suffers.

      • Everyone is so different and this is not judgement! I’m not a list maker, maybe jotting down a few things on the back of and old envelope ha! But am so used to multitasking. I would hope George would just go to the game with a friend.

      • Oh I know, these are just our reasons. We love it! George may go but offered them to find a couple first if not two separate people. We will see. He’s free to go. And honestly if asked on a different day, I might have said yes.

  2. Everyone needs a day or two to just relax and chill. My heart hurts for your Mom. It has to be hard to be going blind and her husband gone. It scares me the thought of not being able to do things for myself. I am very independent. We are all getting older. Anything might happen to any of us health-wise.
    You deserve time to do what you want on the weekends. I am sure your husband has things to do at home as well. If not give him a honey-do list. ha! I had a family member who never showed down. just kept going and going like the energizer bunny. Finally, she got to retire they bought a house at the beach. She drew one retirement check. then had a heart attack and died. . Her husband had to learn to pay all the bills and do his own laundry and take care of his house..All the things she had been doing for years while working full time. I think he was shocked by how much she had done for everybody. This made me really stop and think..Life is short make the most of every day.

    • Yes. Exactly. This has been a huge change for her and a huge change for us too as we try to keep her as independent as possible while trying to maintain our jobs and our own lives. These lists help keep us sane.

  3. Sorry to hear about the things happening in your life.

    About the lists, I love me my lists, because they keep me on track. After listing everything I need to do for the day, I also pick only one or two to be on the list I look at. That further streamlines my flow. Anyway, thanks for this post!

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