I have made lists the last couple of weeks trying to become more organized. It is hard for this creative person to organize. It seems I never can find anything when things are organized. List making is helping me stick to my tasks during the day. There are many things that distract me from the tasks I need to do that I don’t like to do. Because my mind is always creating I turn to the fun tasks on my list first and because of the fun tasks, the tasks I dread never get done until the last minute.
As I gazed at the books on my book shelves this morning I came across the book in the above picture by Sterling Publishing. Finding this book also coincided with a free book I downloaded by Ruth Soukup from Living Well, Spending Less. It is a free goal setting workbook. I thought it might help me on my journey to pay off my debt and get more organized. One of the first things it tells you to do is to list your priorities. The book advises us to list what actually matters to us the most.
How many of us make lists that actually list what matters to us most as a priority? If I did that my list might be something like this: 1. God 2.Family 3.Health and the daily every day living tasks would follow somewhere down the line. Do you get the picture? Instead, my list today is pay bills, work on budget, website, end of year taxes, buy groceries, organize, interviews for the paper. There are only a couple of the tasks on that list that I enjoy doing.
I looked at my former lists and no where on those lists does it list me, play time, relaxation, time with family, playing with my shysters, writing, which are all enjoyable activities that relax me. When I make a list I am very focused on the list. At the end of the day I feel like I have accomplished something. It leaves me tired and in need of a recharge. There are days I need a recharge before I start my list and my tasks on that list.
It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that at the same time I read the goal setting workbook I found My Life List book on my book shelf. I also am reading a book on my Kindle by Diane Moody called Confessions of a Prayer Slacker. The book subject is prayer and Moody lists excuses why we don’t pray. Whether you are a prayerful person or not, Moody’s thoughts may hit home. Somehow we’ve equated “busyness” with accomplishment and success. She focuses on the lists we make and the things we rush through to get through the day. This observation resonated with me as I feel guilty much of the time watching my busy friends do all they do for the church, and the community, and I don’t. I don’t want the stress I see in some of them. In the busyness of their lives I never see my friends unless engaging in their activities because they are too busy for lunch with a friend. I feel guilty because I have opted out of much of that and the drama that sometimes goes with it. Perhaps Diane Moody hit the nail on the head when she states, “Have you ever tried to drive your car when the gas gauge reads empty?”
Experiences described in the books I am reading make me look at my list differently. I am making a list and checking it twice but my list is my biggest vice. Perhaps my list and it’s priorities need changing so I can refuel at the beginning of the day before I start my journey down the road to the tasks that drain my tank.
Another little bit of advice from the workbook was to Eat the Frog. Apparently Mark Twain once said, ““Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The book advises that if you start the day eating the frog and doing the toughest and hardest task, the rest of the day will be a piece of cake.
For me it is hard prioritizing my list to put the things that matter the most to me ahead of the busyness and the worldly tasks that we need to do to survive in this world and not let the expectations of others determine my list. Perhaps if I eat the frog on putting the important priorities in my life first instead of leaving them last, II would have enough fuel for the tasks that make me crazy. Putting what matters to us most, our lives and our families first, should not be an eat the frog but for some reason for many of us that is the hardest task of the day.
What does my list say about me? What does your list say about you?