{11/01/2012}   The unexpected joy of completing To Do lists

Wednesday, 11th January 2012

It’s 10.47pm. I thought about writing this morning but it didn’t happen. Sadly, that may well have been because I didn’t write it on my To Do list and only one thing was done that wasn’t on my list!

I have mentioned To Do lists before but I think they deserve a whole day’s write-up. I used to occasionally write such a list, now I pretty much have to write one in order to use free time effectively. To Do lists have also made me more aware of how I work.

I take enormous satisfaction from crossing things off that I’ve done. Yes, I am one of those people who writes lists with stages, eg “Wash clothes”, “Hang up clothes” and “Put dry clothes away”. I would rather have a hugely long list and be able to cross things off fairly often than have a short list where everything takes ages to complete. I have also been known to add things retrospectively. Today, I realised my utility room was resembling a dumping ground so I tidied it. I then wrote it down and a few minutes later crossed it off. Nowhere near as satisfying as crossing something off that wasn’t done before it was written though. But, ingenious I think, I have convinced myself that this is an important “cheat” as it makes my To Do book (is that too anal, to have my own To Do list notebook?!) a record of my activities. Probably very useful to know in years to come looking through my To Do notebooks!

This morning, I was unexpectedly efficient in getting things done. By just after 1pm, I had achieved a lot more than I’d hoped and had even done some of the things I didn’t have any enthusiasm for doing. I was surprisingly giddy and excitable as a result. It is hugely exciting to feel a sense of achievement for crossing off what are essentially chores.

Since 3rd January this year I have completed more lists than I’d usually do in two or three months. I guess it is part of the new year clear out mentality. I am organising my life and getting niggly chores done. I have sorted my wardrobe and got quite a few new clothes, and I am looking forward – shock – to going to work tomorrow so I can select a whole new outfit. I have tidied kitchen cupboards and got out part of my vintage tea set, which I am enjoying using. I am aware of what paperwork is where. I am getting my on-the-blink mobile phone repaired. My car windscreen is finally going to be repaired (I have what looks like a bullet hole at forehead level – it’s been there and annoyed me since I bought the car a year and a half ago). I have created order in my attic-style cupboard. I now have an entire table laid out ready for me to start writing ideas and doing research for a children’s story that I know is in me. I feel really good for it.

I often moan about “getting older” and things that are going wrong. However, I love that as I get older I feel very strongly that I get to know myself better. I know better than ever how to trick myself into doing mundane tasks: write them on a To Do list. I have actually enjoyed my week or so of chores and am even thinking about what to add to my list or whether to start a new one. It’s endless!


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