One More To-Do List

Holy cow!  Have you noticed?  Christmas time is here!  Are you ready?  I’m not!

I got my tree up a little late.  I like to put it up the day after Thanksgiving.  There were lots of other decorations I wanted to do this year.  I guess they’re not really going to happen because it’s already December 5th and things are starting to pile up.  I’ve already attended one party…  And that’s just the FIRST party.  There’s more planned.  And, oh yeah!  I haven’t started shopping for my family yet.  Crud!  And then there’s some traditional treats that my season is just not complete without…  Christmas cards?  Nope, guess they’re not going to happen this year.

And, I have a 2 month old in the house.  For whatever reason, I STILL have not been able to find my groove for keeping this household together since he’s been born.  Just keeping up with the normal routines I had before #2 arrived makes me feel like I have no time to chill, and with all the extra holiday stuff… I just don’t feel like I’m keeping up my responsibilities that well.

In the midst of all this, I’ve started to develop a coping technique.  I know it doesn’t sound like it from reading the previous two paragraphs, but as a 4SmartyPants blogger, I’m pretty much an expert on everything.  My expert advice to you, and to myself through this holiday season is to add a new to-do list.

“What?!” you may ask, “ANOTHER LIST?!  When I can barely keep up with the ones I’ve already got?!”  Yep.

Most of the stuff on our to-do lists fall into two categories.  Stuff we HAVE to do includes all the responsibilities that carry dire consequences if put off or left unmet.  Things like pack the kids’ lunches, balance the checkbook, buy groceries.  It’s pretty hard to get out of this list, and it takes a substantial amount of our time.

Then there’s the stuff we OUGHT to do making up the other half of our list.  Things like exercise, read to the kiddos, call your aunt back, go to church, write those thank you notes…  Your life won’t explode if these things aren’t done, but you’re probably going to feel like a piece of trash if you don’t.

Right now, I’m having a hard time with just the have to dos and the ought to dos.  Because there’s all these other things like taking a nap, catching up on New Girl, shopping, visiting… Things I WANT to do.  My solution?

The WANT to do list.

I’ve started this recently and it’s like therapy.  Every day, when I finish my have to dos, I pick one item on my want to do list and spend about an hour on it before I start my ought to dos.  This keeps me from feeling like a martyr at the end of the day when my have to dos and ought to dos leave no time for fun!

And yes, if you were wondering, I make a real list on my iPhone.  There’s something soothing about knowing that I may not have time to do what I want right now, but I’m writing it down and I WILL do it later.

The same principle could apply to the budget or to New Years resolutions.  The math doesn’t make sense, but somehow, there seems to be MORE time and energy for the “oughts” when I make room for at least one or two “wants”.

Give this principle a try.  Write down a “Want to do” list in a special place or journal and see what happens.  (I’m in the midst of setting up a dry erase board for just this purpose.) You can’t put life on hold inevitably.  Sometimes a SmartyPants has to know what she wants, ignore the obstacles, and just make things happen!

Need a place to start this month?  Take a look at some of the dreamy holiday suggestions in Bectoria’s latest post, then tell me what’s on YOUR “want to do” list this season!

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