advice, habit-building

Make the List

If you’ve been here awhile, you may have got the sense now that I’m a big advocate of automating … of checklists …

Every time I am presented with a task, I sit down and make a list … 

NOT!

Oh how I wish this were true …

But it’s not.

Sure, I’ve gotten my “summer list” sort of figured out, I’ve got my finance to do list organized, and I’m becoming a master packer for camping with my “new” spreadsheet of “essentials.”

Often though, instead of sitting down and making a list, I just beat the thoughts around in my head or I just do the next thing or, even more likely, feel like my brain is about to explode with the sheer number of thoughts, tasks, and things to consider bouncing around in my head …

Though I wish I did, I don’t ALWAYS sit down to make the list … my reasons for this vary apparently.

I sometimes consider the list making process a waste of time … instead, I can just get straight to work … plus, I have a tendency to make lists and not reference them (I still forget things anyway, so why bother?). And, if I’m being REALLY honest, (at times) I kind of find the whole following a list thing super binding … super dull … super restrictive … this can definitely lead to A LOT of resistance to ACTUALLY just sit down and make the list … beyond this, my perfectionist tendencies tend to get the best of me as I can’t seem to figure out WHERE I should house all these lists … scraps of paper here and there? A specific notebook? A document on my computer? In the Notes app on my phone? Online or offline? As I seek out the “perfect” list system, I become crippled by the options … the possibilities … and then I just do nothing … 

And, let’s face it, if I were to write it ALL down sometimes … I’d see that it’s just too much … that it’s impossible … I’d see, right before my eyes, hopelessness … I would become overwhelmed … maybe even immobilized …

Despite my apparent resistance to lists, the struggle of finding a “perfect” system (I trust there isn’t one), and my possible feelings of overwhelm when creating a list, ONE practice I HAVE adopted in the last while though is having a paper and a pen along when I go for my daily walk (I ALWAYS try to leave my phone at home for these adventures). My walks are DEFINITELY a time of “thought overload” for me … thoughts about what needs to get done, countless “don’t forgets,” how I can help a struggling child, messages or notes I’d like to send, dreams, ideas, and wishes, hits of inspiration … and the like …

Jotting my ideas down as I go HAS proven super helpful and helps “clear the slate.”

I’ve also added a notepad and a pen to my dresser … as I do my makeup or fix up my hair each day, I jot down my “must do’s” … my “don’t forgets” … my “hopes” for the day (or the future).

Despite seeing and experiencing the inherent value of lists (see Event Planning Worksheet as an example) and KNOWING wholeheartedly (and very intimately) my tendency to become overwhelmed when I DON’T have a plan, it isn’t a consistent practice for me yet … 

I definitely have not mastered this one yet …

This morning, I was reminded that “the wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways. . . . The prudent give thought to their steps” (Proverbs 14:8, 15).

Proverbs 21:29 adds, “Good people think carefully about what they do.”

In addition to being big on automating and checklists, you may have also gathered that I’m big on getting intentional … I’m big on thinking carefully …  I’m big on being a good steward … I’m big on planning and getting organized … 

Of course, I’m not perfect at any of these things … but I try … everyday, I try to learn, to grow, to be a little better than the day before …

As we depart today for a week-long adventure, I am working on my lists … a list of things I want to take time for personally … a list of things I hope to do with the kids while we’re away … a list of things to wrap up before we leave (like publishing this blog post) … a list of lists in the bible to explore during my morning quiet time this week … and, as always, when I lay my head down on my pillow each night, I ALWAYS list my blessings …

I wonder today if there’s a few lists you need to sit down and make … 

It’s time to take the time … make the list …

2 thoughts on “Make the List”

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