Dont Overcomplicate your To Do List: Getting Stuff Done

Dont Overcomplicate your To Do List: Getting Stuff Done

If only you could conquer your to-do list, you’d be insanely organized and successful! That’s the goal right? Unfortunately, the reality is anything but. It’ so easy to get caught up in the writing and doing the tasks or downloading a new app that WILL finally make the process easier. As with all things, there is no magic bullet or foolproof method that will get you motivated and keep you on track. Don’t shoot the messenger!

Find your system, stick with it and trust your gut.

If you can set up some good habits in dealing with your goals and to-dos, you’ll be far better served in the long run. This might sound a little lofty and woo-woo, but trust me. I’m a gadget girl, I love new apps and have an addiction to all things shiny. Yet, the more I try…the more I get frustrated because I can’t find that ONE perfect system for me. The fact is, everyone has little quirks and idiosyncrasies that make it impossible to copy their exact system with any success. It’s all about the tweaks and adaptations that YOU need to make your system perfect for you. That being said, there are certainly some good rules to live by.

Here’s where you can begin:

What’s in your pocket? Most of us carry our phone around 24/7. You may be trying to cut back on your phone addiction, but when you use something every day that’s typically the best place to store your important to-dos. From a pure convenience standpoint, it just makes sense. If you want to add a secondary system for tracking long-term projects and goals, that’s great! Just make sure you have a quick and easy way to jot down tasks when you’re on the go, up to your ears in groceries or blinking owlishly at your ceiling when trying to fall asleep. If your go-to pocket item is a notebook, then the same theories apply. The simple answer is usually the best one!

The simple answer is usually the best one!

Create a ritual. Some sort of consistent reminder or trigger to plan your day/week/month is huge. It could be a reminder on your phone or just a habit you cultivate before bed/when you get up each day. You know what will work best and what you won’t let yourself slide on. Just make sure you create some space to brain dump and organize your thoughts each and every day. Once you have the system in place, it’ll become second nature.

Set your goals. It’s so easy to get caught up in grinding through the daily to-dos. Some big picture goals and aspirations help to ground you. When you hear that alarm going off in your brain about this “thing” that MUST be addressed…think about your goals. Does it push your goal forward? Does it add value to your home and family life? If you answer no to either of these, then why are you letting it stress you out? Table it and move on, if it comes back around then maybe you need to consider it again…but for now, move along.

Adapt as you go. We’re human and we’re very very fallible. We like to change our minds just because. This isn’t a terrible thing, change makes life interesting. If your current system isn’t working, make a slight pivot and keep on pushing forward. Keep things interesting and keep your brain engaged, provided you keep your goals in your sites…you’re golden.

As humans, we always try to distill meaning or don’t trust our own selves because we’re sure there’s someone out there funnier, smarter, better and more knowledgeable than we are. There sure could be. Yet, that doesn’t make YOU any less valid. The hard part is knowing when to tell your brain to shut up and just keep reaching for the stars. Find your system, stick with it and trust your gut.

The hard part is knowing when to tell your brain to shut up and just keep reaching for the stars.

Stay tuned for my next article on some of my favorite tools and the tricks I use to keep myself sane and on task.

Family Organization when you can barely remember what day it is

Family Organization when you can barely remember what day it is

Parenting frustration is real and it’s here to stay. We can only work on how we cope with it. How many times have you gotten crazy frustrated with your kids lately? Have they asked the same question incessantly? Have they pushed your buttons one too many times? Are they poking and prodding endlessly about the same topic? Do you wonder how they forgot your instructions from 30 seconds before?

It’s a common story and a huge point of frustration in parenting, especially of small children. You are not alone! We love our kids, even at their most annoying. We are incredibly busy with work and home lives and just trying to get through the day unscathed can seem like a monumental task.

Putting all that aside for a moment, take a little journey with me. I’d say “close your eyes” but that would be problematic. Imagine for a few minutes, that you’re on vacation in a totally unfamiliar country where you don’t speak the language. You somehow got separated from the people you’re traveling with and find yourself in a part of the city you’ve never been before. It is amazing and beautiful and you are completely enamored. Walking onward, you try to keep your eyes open for something familiar as you explore, hoping to spot a restaurant or store where you could ask for a phone. Everything from the customs, the food, the clothing, the buildings are completely unfamiliar and you don’t even know where to begin. Hunger begins to make itself known as you walk onward, night is falling. Do you have that anxious feeling creeping into your belly? A stranger approaches and starts speaking rapidly to you, seemingly alarmed and anxious, gesticulating in an incomprehensible fashion. Looking around for assistance, you see only disapproving and unfriendly stares. You attempt to speak calmly and mime that you are lost and need help. But your every effort is met with more disapproval and confusion. You attempt all familiar ways to communicate but are rebuffed at every turn. Clearly, your efforts to be appeasing are only adding to the stranger’s negative view of you. That anxious feeling is quickly mounting into panic as the stranger begins to get angry and moves toward you. How do you feel now? Are you thinking clearly?

“If I could wish for one thing for my children, it’s patience.”Tweet This!

Ok, I get that this is an extreme example but is it so different from how young children see the world? They are bombarded from all sides with new information, rules, experiences, and sensations that they are attempting to process. Even when they begin to find understanding, inevitably, the circumstances change or a new element forces them back to the beginning. As they grow and learn, we are imposing new layers of rules and expectations upon them. We are by nature, contrary and inconsistent. It stands to reason that we don’t always correct, encourage or guide our children in the exact same way every time. There are also hugely varied circumstances that can affect our interactions with our children, yet we often expect them to read between the lines or understand us to an exacting degree. The cues and expressions we rely upon as adults to assess a situation are completely foreign to our children. They haven’t yet built up their knowledge bank of clues that they can draw upon.

Can you think of a time when you were in unfamiliar territory and suddenly grasped something that made sense? What was your first instinct? Most likely, it was to repeat that action over and over and over again until something new clicked. Then we repeat the next action ad nauseum until we find something else that works. This should some incredibly familiar if you think about it in relation to your children’s actions.

There is no miracle method or proven strategy for moving this process along and creating better listeners who don’t annoy us so often. What we are witnessing is a miracle of self discovery and self worth. We are instrumental in shaping their view of this world and while completely overwhelming, that’s an awesome responsibility. I mean awesome in its true sense, not the overused off-hand way we usually apply it. These kids are getting up every day with a huge sense of optimism, hope, love and energy that they are just aching to send into the world. They fail thousands of times, every day. With barely a blink, they get back up ready to try another thousand times. Their capacity for learning is incredible and they are using every second of their existence to make an impression on their surrounding and the people around them.

“Children fail thousands of times, every day. With barely a blink, they get back up ready to try another thousand times.” Tweet This!

So while parents are frustrated and exhausted by the world in all its mundanity, I challenge you to try to walk a minute in your child’s shoes. Take even a few seconds to look at the world in wonder and awe. Remember that they’re still developing their bearings on EVERYTHING and while they are certainly learning to manipulate us, it doesn’t often come from a place of deliberate disobedience. More often than not, they’re simply looking for love, reassurance and structure. They want to know the rules to this game we’re all playing and they want to excel at it! I realize this is an idealistic expectation, but even if we can put this in action once in a day that’s a huge accomplishment! More often than not, we’ll still find ourselves in that place of frustration but it is worth the effort to invest in ourselves and in our children.

If I could wish for one thing for my children, it’s patience. Modern life has this way of pushing us along at a furious pace and our gut reaction is to race along without question. But what are we rushing toward? I see people all around me from various walks of life, varying ages and backgrounds. Is any one group happier than the next? Does any one person have all the answers? The more I learn and understand, the more I am certain that what matters most is today. THIS moment in time. THIS experience. I have friends of all income brackets with the exact same insecurities everyone else has. I see baby boomers FINALLY getting to retire and then wondering, what now? Their health isn’t the best or they’re so stuck in “work” mode that they can’t or won’t relearn how to just live and enjoy being present.

This is nothing new or revolutionary. Many others have explained this more eloquently and more powerfully than I can. Yet, I think it too important to not repeat from my own perspective in hopes that it might strike a chord with someone. Even one person. Our children are embracing this very concept even as they race ahead into the school years, the teen years and soon adulthood. If we can’t enjoy life as much as possible in the now, then what’s the point?

“Find joy in the details.”Tweet This!

Life is made to be lived, in all its mundane and boring detail. Find joy in the details.